The Navajo Nation has been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Navajo Nation Department of Health, the infection rate of more than 3.4% and nearly 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, is a much higher infection rate than in other communities. 382 people have died from the virus.
Listen to the report:
The current pandemic highlights existing inequities including the fact that many people do not have access to clean running water and must travel long distances to access medical care.
Dr. Maria Michael, a Lakota Diné spiritual leader, is working to raise funds for Diné (Navajo) and Hopi reservations. She says young people are particularly impacted because so many of their relatives have fallen sick and died.
“For the children, it is especially hard because they don’t understand what is happening, they’re losing aunties, they’re losing uncles, they’re losing parents and the don’t understand this invisible virus that is just hitting the reservation.”
Dr. Michael has made several trips to the Diné reservation and is bringing much needed supplies. Food, sewing machines, fabric and supplies for children are needed.
“The kids don’t even have some of the basic necessities that normal kids in a privileged society have, like we have here in Boulder and Longmont and Louisville. They don’t have toys. They don’t have distractions and they don’t know how to process all this trauma and this loss.”
She will be returning to the reservation on July 20 and hopes to bring toys, books and journals for children. “So children can begin to write about their feelings, they can begin to write down their questions so that elders and medicine people can start to try to help them understand what’s happening.”
Dr. Michael can be contacted through her website: https://drmariamichael.com/ and monetary donations can be made through the go fund me account: https://www.gofundme.com/f/urgent-covid19-help-for-dine-amp-hopi-reservations
Listen to our previous interview with Dr. Maria Michael about the plight of the Diné and Hopi during the pandemic – Local Fundraising Efforts to Help Diné and Hopi During COVID-19 Pandemic