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Nevada tribal emergency coordinator named amid pandemic

A member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has been named as the state’s new tribal emergency response coordinator, following a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that coronavirus testing and assistance has been slow to reach Native American tribes.

Cassandra Darrough, an elected tribal council member who traces her ancestry to the Walker River Paiute Tribe, began work last month with the state Division of Emergency Management. She joined tribal health coordinator Crystal Harjo providing emergency management support to Nevada’s 27 tribal nations.

The Review-Journal reported recently that tribes in Nevada scrambled for weeks to acquire coronavirus testing materials and protective equipment after most other Nevada residents — including self-identified urban Native Americans — were able to obtain limited testing as early as mid-March.

Testing finally began in late April for an estimated 20,000 enrolled tribal members on throughout Nevada, even as case counts grew in communities near reservations.

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