In some states in our nation, the life expectancy for Native Americans can be two-decade less than other demographic groups. The reasons for this phenomenon are many.

Chief amongst these reasons is that health care programs for Native Americans have been continuously underfunded by the United States Congress. In addition to this, approximately 25% of native Americans reported feelings being discriminated by health care professionals according to an NPR survey.

Hidatsa tribe member Margaret Moss is a nurse that has worked for Indian Health Services as well as other systems. Moss explains that she has seen racism toward Native Americans in the healthcare industry both while at work and while performing her duties as a mom seeking medical attention for her own children. Moss is now a nursing instructor at the University Of Buffalo.

Native Americans taking part in the NPR poll also expressed that this discrimination is much more prevalent where the population of Native Americans is highest.

The high poverty rates and lack of insurance that is experienced by many Native Americans make it very difficult to attain healthcare treatment outside of the Indian Health Services. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that many Native Americans live in rural areas that do not provide many healthcare alternatives.

More on the plight of Native Americans and the Healthcare system can be seen at NPR.