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Kalle Benallie
Indian Country Today 

Hand sanitizer, disinfectant and gloves are now available to more than 20 tribal colleges and universities across the country thanks to AT&T.

The telecommunications company donated $1.5 million worth of supplies on Thursday to tackle the disproportionate infection rates Native Americans face during the pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Native Americans face COVID-19 infection rates that are as much as 3.5 times higher than the White population.

“There is much more work to be done to ensure Native American communities have access to the resources needed to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Tom Brooks, vice president of external and legislative affairs at AT&T.

Peter Romero, director of facilities and security at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, readies the college’s newly delivered supply. (Photo courtesy of Dina Horwedel)
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Schools from New Mexico, Minnesota and Washington are receiving the supplies from the American Indian College Fund, the nation’s largest charity for Native scholarships, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, a national advocacy group that supports tribal colleges and universities.

“Our rural, economically distressed communities need support to protect the health and well-being of students and their families,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian Fund. “The commitment of AT&T to helping address health and other disparities in the U.S. is demonstrated through their generous support.”

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Kalle Benallie, Navajo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today's Phoenix bureau. Follow her on Twitter: @kallebenallie or email her at Benallie was once the opening act for a Cirque Du Soleil show in Las Vegas.

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