Must-See Videos: Life With Covid on Navajo-Hopi Nation + Chaco Update

We all face challenges complying with the Covid quarantine, but these 4 videos convey the dire conditions on Hopi and Navajo Nations and the heroes who are in service to those nations. Must see.

Today we devote our post to Indian Country, with an update on plans to expand fracking around Chaco Canyon followed by a series of powerful video on the Navajo-Hopi Covid relief effort. We want to also remind you that we have a host of events coming up, including our Retake radio show this morning at 8:30 am and an extraordinary Zoominar with Dahr Jamail and Greg Rogers on Tuesday evening ,which is nearing capacity. Click here for details.

Chaco Canyon Public Comment To Be Done Online, Despite Covid Ravaging the Area and Despite Widespread Lack of Internet In Impacted Communities

BLM/BIA announcement Thursday that it would deny requests for extension/suspension of the public comment period and instead hold virtual meetings in areas with known internet inequity. This is just another appalling move on behalf of the Trump administration to alienate Tribes and sacrifice public health on behalf of the oil and gas industry. 

On a related topic, WildEarth Guardians issued a press release on NMED’s announcement yesterday that it is rolling back pollution controls in the midst of a public health pandemic: 

Certainly, while the Governor should be commended for her exceptional response to COVID-19, the rest of her administration is taking its cues from Trump’s playbook in exploiting emergency measures to allow polluter profiteering. At a time when oil is potentially revenue-negative and health conditions caused by fracking activities are directly linked to coronavirus morbidity, the last thing the administration should be doing is making it easier for oil and gas to pollute. Click here to read NMED’s announcement of its intention to assist gas and oil operators to respond to the new EPA regulations that essentially eliminate regulation altogether. Quoting from the announcement:

“The bottom line: While NMED cannot provide blanket, industry-wide extensions or waivers to existing permits or rule, we will evaluate requests for extensions for performance testing and reporting requirements on a case-by-case basis and grant relief where warranted, consistent with our statutory and regulatory authority.” (emphasis added)

Navajo-Hopi Nations Reeling From Covid

Ok, Retake folks, I am hoping many, many of you can take a moment to review the four videos that follow and then take action.

The first two videos offer broad strokes on the relief campaign in Navajo and Hopi Nations (3 minutes each). The second two videos go into more depth, illustrating the history challenges and the local heroes working on the ground in Indian Country.

The graphic at left is from NM State Department of Health.

McKinley County

After you watch the videos, we ask you to do two things: Please make a contribution to the Navajo-Hopi Nation Covid-19 Relief Fund (click here). Then please, share this post in social media and/or by email with a group of your friends.

Navajo & Hopi Nation Challenges & Heroes

  • 1/3 of Navajo Nation residents live without running water or electricity.
  • 25% of Hopi Villages are without water or electricity.
  • 38% of Navajo Nation residents live in poverty.
  • 50% of Navajo Nation members are unemployed.
  • 60% of Hopi Nation members are unemployed.
  • Many wells are polluted with uranium, and so these people rely on delivered water and often run out mid-month

On top of this, now we have Covid-19. The pandemic is spreading so quickly in Navajo Nation that now the Governor and the Mayor of Gallup have ordered a complete lockdown of the city. This is a tragedy of extraordinary proportion.

Despite these challenges, as the videos that follow display, Navajo and Hopi people are resilient and many heroes are engaged in delivering supplies, water, and food throughout a vast, expansive territory.

Ethel Branch, Relief Fund Co-Founder, Comments on the Fund & the Needs in Navajo-Hopi Nation— 3 minutes

On the Ground: Relief Effort in Navajo & Hopi Nations
3 Minutes

The Water Situation in Navajo Nation & A True Hero: The Water Lady

This is an inspiring 8-minute video, well worth your time. The Water Lady is quite a hero in Navajo Nation.

Rare Look at Hopi Reservation

This is a close look at the Hopi people and their reservation and culture, with a look at how their culture has been commodified against their wills. Fourteen minutes.

Now that you’ve watched the videos, you will understand both the need and the degree to which your contribution will maximize the work of incredible indigenous heroes. We ask you to do two things: Make a contribution to the Navajo-Hopi Nation Covid-19 Relief Fund (click here). Then please, share this post in social media and/or by email with a group of your friends.

It is shameful that our government leaves indigenous people to fend for themselves, especially when you consider the historic genocide and efforts to eviscerate their culture. “With liberty & justice for all”? I guess it depends on how you look at it and how you define “all.” Please help as much as you can.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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5 replies

  1. With so many people without running water, how do we justify a $400 million project to bring water to people who already have it?

  2. How do we donate to the Navajo well project?

  3. When a government agency (NMEnvironmentDepartment), i.e., merely an extension of Colonial Capitalism, starts using the words “blanket” and “Hopi” and “Navaho” and “poisons”(rolling back pollution controls), my gut tells me this will not turn out well for the indigenous peoples. Whether the evil cabal that it appears has always run the WHITE House – calls it “smallpox” or “corporate waivers and extensions” – the damage of this well-hidden but relentless genocide is staggeringly apparent if one is awake enough to process what is actually occurring. Blankets with smallpox or blanket extensions and waivers. “There will be blood” required to pay for these blankets. When you connect the dots, it is hard not to ask: How are these occupied reservations not the Gaza Strip of the Southwest? Occupied by a Federal Hand (Bureau of Indian Education) and Federal Boots (Bureau of Indian Affairs). A bureau is a bunch of drawers where you put things to keep them out of sight. Why are all the other federal agencies called Departments, now, except for BIE, BIA? Given the level of Cognitive Dissonance and Propaganda and Fear being downloaded into our collective psyche through the toxic glow-day orange fog of this administration, “will there never be an end, to the Indian Wars?” Thank you, Bruce Cockburn.

  4. Just watched these videos this morning. The anti-Navajo sentiment in the video about the Hopi is disturbing. I note that the film-makers spoke almost only with Hopi government officials. There has always been a deep divide among Hopis – those who participate in the US-created Hopi government, and those who oppose it in favor of more traditional ways. The anti-Navajo sentiment has been stoked by US government and corporate elites in a divide-and-conquer strategy to get access to the mineral resources. There is a long history here that I was involved in in the 1980’s. This film is fairly old, as the Navajo Generating Station has been shut down.

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