One finding that has been largely ignored in the massive data collection around COVID is the very high rate of vaccination among Native Americans. According to the CDC’s data tracker, Native Americans show significantly higher rates of vaccination across all ethnic groups, including whites and Blacks. And, while the rates are higher on reservations than in those living in cities, both remain high.

In addition to being hit hard by COVID in the beginning of the pandemic, Native Americans have historical reasons for their support of vaccinations — carrying collective memory of the distant past when smallpox and other diseases devastated tribal communities, to more recent struggles in the beginning of the pandemic.

Also of importance is the Native American sense of obligation to one another, something we all could think more about. Collective ideas such as “be a good relative,” “do this for your grandmother,” and “because our people are precious” might just be ideas whose time has come — again.