Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Friday, May 22, 2020

Share the Love: Coronavirus grassroots relief for Shiprock and northern Navajoland

Share the Love: Coronavirus grassroots relief for Shiprock and northern Navajoland

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Please share the love with our friends in Shiprock and the Northern Navajo Nation. The grassroots coronavirus relief effort -- Northern Dine' COVIOD19 Relief Effort -- has over 70 volunteers to assist with care packages.

Shiprock Chapter President Chili Yazzie said this morning, "We at Northern Dine' COVIOD19 Relief Effort are able to deliver donated foods, water and supplies to quarantined families. We have been able to coordinate food deliveries even from California, Salt Lake City and other far locations," Chili said. 

Along with food, water and cleaning supplies, there is a need for masks and other PPEs. They are also taking out gardening supplies and livestock feed. The volunteers are following CDC protocols for safe deliveries.

Northern Navajo Relief contacts:
Kyle Jim -- and Bree Lameman --

We're sharing a story of sharing the love here, from Salt Lake City to Shiprock and northern Navajoland.

Gathering supplies for northern Navajoland in Salt Lake City

Cheii Moroni said,  "I've been dubbed Clorox King. Thank you all. Over 1000 bottles of bleach, hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer, hundreds of sanitizing wipes, over 1000 cans of SPAM/corned beef."
Sharing how it all came together, Kristin Knippenberg said, "It was so much; it was not enough."

"This describes the last 4 days that will stand out in my memory of this pandemic, of my time as Cheii Moroni’s roommate, of what our community accomplished when the pandemic forced us to confront the USA’s centuries-long oppression and then abandonment of the Diné.

"Derick and I planned a stay of 1-2 nights at my place, when on Tuesday night, Moroni said, “I was asked personally by a Navajo delegation to do a donation drive for bleach, hand sanitizer, Lysol, Chlorox wipes, Spam, and corned beef ... and it’s going to be a lot of work.” His eyes got big. My eyes got big. Long pause. “Okay. Sweet.”

"We set up with gloves and masks and a folding table and some signage on Wednesday morning like we were selling friggin lemonade for 25 cents a glass. And we started calling folks, emailing folks, social mediaing folks to scout the stores for our items and buy as much as they could. We repeated the list in every convo: bleach, hand sanitizer, Lysol, Chlorox wipes, Spam, corned beef; bleach, hand sanitizer, Lysol, Chlorox wipes, spam, corned beef.

"Moroni made a status update that sat us all down and REALLY REALLY explained what our dominant civilization had forgotten, the need-to-know it had abandoned: We in the city, with running water and electricity, THINK we need disinfecting wipes; but no ... we can make do with alternatives. But some parts of the Navajo Reservation have nothing else. Soap is useless. Toilet paper is useless. Basic infrastructure isn’t something you get with a tax bond; it takes an act of Congress to do major projects on the reservations. Moroni bridges these worlds. He explained it. And people finally GOT IT. And they sprang into action.

"I want to always remember the mountain of bleach, the towers of spam. I want to remember Moroni’s hilarious sigh when another cash donation rolled in, meaning we would have to send out another shopper to change that cash into disinfectant. I want to remember the utter shock on the delegates’ faces when they rolled up with a cute little 4x8 trailer that was WAY too small. I want to remember feeling so exuberant and wild and smiley to see old and new beloved friends in our shared meet space for once, rather than on zoom. I want to remember how exhausted and over-stimulated and wild we were at the end of each day because people are exhausting, and also we can’t live without you. I love you. I love us.

"But I will never ever forget Saturday night after most volunteers had left, and the last carload from Provo had dropped off. The Navajo Delegation and the rest of us sat down on the grass to lovingly wipe down the last donations with bleach solution. Everyone teased each other in Navajo, and Moroni sat perched on a stack of spam cackling with joy. They wiped much more thoroughly than I ever did. I made a joke that white people go faster so they can record it on Instagram. But they called out their inventory to me, and I wrote it down. And as they talked and tuned into their shared rhythm, they went ... someplace else. Someplace more immediate, deep, and peaceful than our front lawn on a Saturday night. And that feeling continued as some of us quietly took up a spot on the porch to listen to stories of relationships, struggles, and joy.

"I’m going to remember this my whole life. Thank you to Moroni, for letting me be part of your life for a little while. I love you."

Northern Navajo Relief contacts:
Kyle Jim --
Bree Lameman --
Donate at:


The Northern Diné COVID-19 Relief Effort (NDCVRE) is a community coalition that has brought together community stakeholders and volunteer service groups, government, and the private sector to provide community food and essential supply relief for the community in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. NDCVRE is not an established voluntary or nonprofit organization trained for a specific hazard, emergency, or disaster response, and did not pre-exist the COVID-19 crisis. NDCVRE primarily serves the Shiprock Chapter area and neighboring communities in the Northern Navajo region upon request. Shiprock Chapter is by far the largest chapter at an estimated 12,000 residents.

Relief efforts should be a shared responsibility of local chapters, the tribal government, and nonprofits with support from the federal and state levels. However, the Shiprock Chapter is closed and not providing relief. To comply with March 30, 2020, Navajo Nation Public Health Emergency Order, NDCVRE immediately initiated coordination with the Navajo Department of Health Command Center.

NDCVRE as an ever-expanding coalition of community groups manages resources needed to support our community’s most vulnerable members during this crisis. Providing necessities with relief services not given by any other sources during this crisis is our burden and responsibility. We have successfully brought together Shiprock community stakeholders and grassroots groups in affiliation with the Central Consolidated School District, the Northern Navajo Medical Center, the local ministerial alliance, NM Indian Affairs Department, NM First, NW NM Firstborn, Indian Resources Development/NMSU, NM Department of Health, Navajo Nation CHR program, Parents Reaching Out and the Shiprock Food Access Coalition. Our fiscal sponsors are Indian Country Grassroots and NW NM First Born.

We have a combined listing of homebound families in need, including elders, disabled, and those directly implicated in COVID-19 quarantines. We have been generating food, household necessities donations and other items such as firewood and alfalfa hay. NDCVRE is actively seeking cash donations and grant opportunities. We have a dry goods food pantry and refrigerated storage facilities. We have an active list of 70 volunteers (many trained in safety protocols), available volunteer transportation, a distribution system and we have established liaison relationships with our hospital, our public safety/first responder operations to provide appropriate and needed support. 

With your donation to NDCVRE, will provide care packages to families like food, water, firewood, livestock and domestic animal feed, baby essentials, educational materials for children, PPEs (gloves, facemask, and other equipment designed to protect from the spread of infection or illness), and assistance to local farmers and ranchers.

We are fully cognizant that COVID-19 will be in our midst for a prolonged time to come, for long-range planning purposes we are generally thinking August at minimum. We are greatly concerned with the need to regularly and adequately keep our vulnerable community members supplied with food and household necessities for that length of time. We realize that this tremendous task will require a sustained effort of will, courage, resources, a cohesiveness of effort, commitment, and family togetherness for the duration of our ordeal. We believe the Northern Diné COVID-19 Relief Effort has those attributes to provide this service to our community and people. We welcome all manner of needed support.

Ahéheè (Thank you)

For questions or concerns please email:

English 505-226-3073 or Navajo 505-427-0084


By mail:                 Please send checks to

                                NDCVRE c/o Indian Country Grassroots Support

                                913 N Orchard Ave, Farmington, NM 87401

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