August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, April 3, 2020

Tohono O'odham Ophelia Rivas 'Acknowledging the Ancestors and Living in Balance in this Age'

Photo and Commentary by Ophelia Rivas
Tohono O'odham
O'odham VOICE Against the Wall
Censored News

While a majority of my mentors are no longer physically present to guide me and instruct me through this new, but not unfamiliar attack on humanity, they are however very present spiritually. 
Spiritually is a word that closely but not fully encompasses the living essence of ancestral strength and vibrancy.The spirituality essence of ancestors also does not fully define the presence of the living ancestors. 
'From time immemorial' is used liberally to address historic acknowledgment, which is also a word that does not fully address this full acknowledgment. 
It is truly humbling to begin to address the ancestors and the presence of the ancestors.
This is where I begin every day at the rising sun and at the setting sun. 
To fully connect to all the essence of ancestors is simple, like a nod to a familiar face, a soft brush of a sweet flower to your face or the embrace of the salty mist of the ocean waters in total abandonment of yourself. 
The wicked distortion and delusional facade of humanity today has exceeded the capacity of imbalance. 
My understanding of my daily acknowledgment of the ancestors draws on balance. The capacity of balance is a peaceful, healthy and beautiful essence the ancestors from time immemorial acknowledged to continue true humanity and life.
This is the time to put into practice an understanding that every human is a vital and intricate part of all that is life. A strong but a minority of humanity has held the life of this world throughout time. I encourage every person this reaches to become apart of this strength to begin practicing an acknowledgment to the ancestors. This is an acknowledgment to the entire living world that has survived from beyond time immemorial. 
Ophelia Rivas, O'odham VOICE Against the WALL

         Ophelia's website:

Navajo Nation coronavirus cases increase to 241 with eight deaths

Canyon de Chelly: History That Echoes Through the Canyons

241 total positive cases of COVID-19 for the Navajo Nation, 1,796 negative tests reported

By Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer
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WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Navajo Department of Health and Navajo Area Indian Health Service, in coordination with the Navajo Epidemiology Center, reported that the total number of positive tests for COVID-19 has reached 241 for the Navajo Nation as of Thursday – an increase of 27 cases since Wednesday. There is now a total of eight confirmed deaths related to COVID-19. They also reported that there is an overall total of 1,796 individuals who have tested negative for COVID-19.

The 241 confirmed positive cases include the following counties: Navajo County, AZ: 104; Apache County, AZ: 22; Coconino County, AZ: 63; McKinley County, NM: 16
San Juan County, NM: 25; Cibola County, NM: 4 and San Juan County, UT: 7.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer continue to push for more test kits and for on-site laboratory testing to be made available on the Navajo Nation, which would increase testing and expedite the processing of results.

“The Navajo Police will start issuing citations soon for individuals who violate the curfew that’s in place. We’re seeing a higher number each day because people continue to go out into public. The only way we’re going to beat the virus is to stay home as much as possible,” said President Nez, who continued efforts on Thursday to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess additional sites on the Nation for medical stations.

“We need everyone to fight for our frontline workers by staying home as much as possible and practicing social distancing. The sooner all of us stay home and follow the preventive measures, the sooner we will begin to see a decline in new cases. Our prayers are with all of our Navajo people each day as we continue the fight together,” Vice President Lizer stated.

The Navajo Nation’s daily curfew remains in effect from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. The curfew does not apply to essential employees reporting to or from duty, with official identification and/or a letter of designation from their essential business employer on official letterhead which includes a contact for verification.

For more information including reports, helpful prevention tips, and more resources, please visit the Navajo Department of Health’s COVID-19 website at To contact the main Navajo Health Command Operations Center, please call (928) 871-7014.

Read more:
Navajo Times: Dennehotso family shares how family is dealing with mother's coronavirus at home.

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