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News Brief

States around the Mountain West are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases, and it’s started to affect some tribes, too.

“Of course you’re going to see an uptick in cases when you live all around hotspots,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

The Navajo Nation’s increase in cases is modest compared to surges in states like Arizona, though. There were 25 cases and three deaths across the Navajo Nation on Saturday and 10 more cases on Sunday.

National and state parks are seeing record turnouts this year. Some even have hours-long lines to get in.

Aaron Yazzie was born on the Navajo Nation and grew up in Holbrook, Arizona, a town that borders the reservation.

As a kid, Yazzie said he never thought he would one day work for NASA.

“There just weren’t a lot of people that I knew in my community or my family that had gone down a path to get a job like this,” he said. “But I knew I was good at building things and being creative. I think those things pushed me in a path toward engineering.”

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a virtual town hall Tuesday that the reservation hit its peak number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and emergency room visits a few weeks early thanks to social distancing and mask-wearing.

 


When you think about Doctors Without Borders you may picture the medical humanitarian NGO working in war-torn countries like Syria or Yemen. But as the COVID-19 crisis lays bare inequalities and vulnerabilities in the U.S., the organization's working here, too, assisting the Navajo Nation in fighting the disease.

Ethel Branch is the former attorney general of the Navajo Nation. A few weeks ago, when she went grocery shopping in Flagstaff, Arizona, she noticed that the shelves were already pretty bare. That worried her. For shoppers from the nearby Navajo Nation, a grocery store can be hours away.

Ed Franklin shows one participant how to take a reading on a solar panel, during the Native Waters on Arid Lands 2019 Tribal Summit in Reno, Nev.
DRI / Native Waters on Arid Lands

The climate crisis is threatening traditional ways of life throughout Indian Country. Now, tribal leaders and scientists are working together to help reservations become more climate resilient.