Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 29, 2020

Dine' volunteers deliver relief, as coronavirus spikes in southwest during fifth month of pandemic

McKinley Mutual Aid, based in Gallup, N.M. delivered 60 Community Care Packages to Zuni which included food box, hygiene bucket, and a case of water. Read more and donate at:

Navajo Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief. Cassandra Begay said, " Thank you to Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund volunteers Lou Tso, heading Lechee food distribution, and Valerie Fowler and Mary Francis who delivered to homes in Coppermine. Thank you to all volunteers who made this happen." Read more and donate at:

By Brenda Norrell
French translation Christine Prat
French translation
Censored News

The coronavirus continued to surge across the southwest and southern United States over the weekend, with an increase in deaths in young children nationwide and a call for medical staff in hospitals in five states, including Arizona. Arizona hospitals began filling to capacity and sending patients to New Mexico.
As the pandemic continues in the fifth month on the Navajo Nation, there were five more Dine' deaths from the virus reported on Sunday.

At Kinlani Mutual Aid in Flagstaff, Arizona, Hopi relief is prepared in partnership with Navajo Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief. Photo by Shannonlynn Chester. Contact Kinlani Mutual Aid on Facebook at
Philmer Bluehouse, Dine', speaking with Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Lakota, on First Voices radio, said the paradigm shift needed for peace and healing during this time of pandemic is in the Dine' narratives, songs and prayers.

"We must use our sacred knowledge to deal with it," Bluehouse said of the virus, describing it as a monster. "It has its limitations," he said, describing how Dine' were given instructions on how to deal with danger.

"It has to do with self, and how to overcome." He said the answers are within, and ceremonies open the realm of the portal to the sacred.

"It is important as to who we are as a people."

Dine' Bitahnii Wilson volunteers his time and raises his money to deliver water to those most in need. Bitahnii said, "DTo'h Bei iina ( Water is Life ) Today we made just a water delivery run to Allentown, where there were two handicapped elderly men that were in need and ran out of water so we decided to make a quick run there and back." Contact Bitahnii on Facebook at

Across Indian Country, the virus rate continued to increase rapidly in the Phoenix and Oklahoma City IHS service units. The Phoenix IHS includes Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Although the Navajo IHS is the largest service unit, Oklahoma and Alaska have carried out more COVID-19 testing.

The Navajo IHS service unit reports 10,312 cases since the pandemic began. It serves the Navajo Nation, Southern Paiute, Hopi Nation and Zuni Pueblo.

(Photo above and below.) Mercury Bitsuie, who volunteers and raises his own funds said, "Teamed up with our AIM Dine' Territory brother Christian J. Johnson to deliver some supplies in the Mitten Rock areas in New Mexico. Was a good drive! Thank you Kirbi Foster and your crew in Cortez as well as my Uncle Andy Dann for coming out and giving us a hand. You all have a wonderful day!" Contact him on Facebook at

Meanwhile, on the Navajo Nation, there is a continued need for food, water and cleaning supplies as the virus continues to spread and the weekend lockdowns continue, especially for the sick, elderly, families with young children, and those without transportation and running water.

While more than $600 million in federal CARES Act relief funds remain stalled in Navajo tribal government appropriations, Dine' volunteers continue to deliver to the homes of those most in need. 

On the Navajo Nation, those at home sick with the virus tell Censored News that no one from the tribal government has brought food and water to their homes. The Navajo Nation tribal government has been shut down and many chapter houses, which normally provide services, have either been closed or have limited hours.

The largest Navajo chapter houses located in New Mexico either have been closed or have limited hours, resulting in pleas on social media for help.

Dine' volunteers and Dine' organizations continue to raise their own funds and deliver food and water to homes and communities. More than one-third of Navajos have no running water. Between 200,000 and 300,000 Navajos live in 110 chapters on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

On Sunday, the Navajo Nation reported 54 new COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation and 69 new cases on Saturday. The total number of deaths reached 439 as of Sunday. Since the pandemic began on the Navajo Nation in March, there have been 8,891 cases and 6,547 recoveries.

Nationwide, more than 150 health experts and medical professionals are urging leaders to shut down the United States again as many states see spikes in cases. In an open letter posted on the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s website, healthcare experts and professionals ask U.S. leaders to consider closing and restarting the economy once again.

Navajo Hopi COVID-19 Relief

(Above) The Navajo Nation reports indicate that approximately 6,547 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 77,156 people have been tested for COVID-19. The total number of COVID-19 positive cases for the Navajo Nation is 8,891. Navajo Nation COVID-19 positive cases by Service Unit: Chinle Service Unit: 2,196; Crownpoint Service Unit: 748; Ft. Defiance Service Unit: 634; Gallup Service Unit: 1,456; Kayenta Service Unit: 1,242; Shiprock Service Unit: 1,391; Tuba City Service Unit: 824; Winslow Service Unit: 397.

Indian Health Service coronavirus cases nationwide

First Voices Radio

Listen to this week's First Voice Radio with host Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Dine' guest Philmer Bluehouse

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