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'We're born Indian and we die white:' Indigenous leaders in California fear COVID deaths are going undercounted

Added 02-27-21 06:04:03am EST - “Native American leaders in California fear COVID-19 cases and deaths in their communities have gone unrecorded in county and state records.” - News.yahoo.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From News.yahoo.com: “'We're born Indian and we die white:' Indigenous leaders in California fear COVID deaths are going undercounted”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

For years, Betty Sigala spoke to her family about her death: she didn’t want to be put on a machine and she didn’t want to die alone.

When she was admitted in June to the COVID-19 care ward at her local hospital, her family refused a ventilator. One of her grandsons convinced the nurses to ignore the no visitors rule and let him in.

Her granddaughter, Leticia Aguilar, 37, lit a fire for her that lasted four days and four nights, a tradition of their Pinoleville Pomo Nation. She cut her hair in mourning, and sang and gave offerings to help her grandmother on the yearlong journey she would take to her final resting place, according to their traditions.

As Aguilar arranged for her grandmother’s burial, Liz Sigala, Aguilar’s aunt and Betty Sigala’s daughter, was admitted to emergency room care. She couldn’t breathe, gasping for air when she tried to speak.

Eleven days after her mother’s death, Liz Sigala died from COVID-19. The family held a double burial. Aguilar lit the fire once again.

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