Communities, Advocates Commemorate Missing And Murdered Indigenous People
Advocacy groups and community members gathered across the state and country Wednesday to commemorate Missing and Murdered Indigenous People — and to call for preventative action.
“With increased funding, resources, and partnerships, we will be better equipped to enforce laws and deter crimes committed against our Indigenous mothers, sisters, daughters, and LGBTQ community," said Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez.
At a panel hosted by Missing and Murdered Diné Relatives, community members shared their stories and discussed the case of Jamie Yazzie, a 33-year-old nursing assistant who was last seen on June, 2019 in Pinon, Arizona. The FBI is seeking information related to Yazzie and last month offered a $5,000 reward.
At another virtual workshop, Valaura Imus-Nahsonhoya of Honwungsi Consulting says the Arizona-based organization has established a missing persons trafficking recovery team. The initiative, she says, helps families with financial resources and can help coordinate search efforts. Indigenous women face murder rates up to 10 times higher than the national average, according to the Indian Law Resource Center.
Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics Slated For Flagstaff
Coconino County Health and Human Services will host a pop-up vaccination clinic Friday afternoon, outside the County Courthouse in downtown Flagstaff. County officials say they’ll administer first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine, along with the newly reinstated one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Individuals 18 and older are eligible, and officials say no appointments are needed. The Northern Arizona Interfaith Council will host a vaccination clinic May 14 in Flagstaff, with Spanish-speaking volunteers on site.
Yavapai County Surpasses 500 COVID-19 Deaths
Yavapai County has surpassed 500 deaths related to COVID-19. The latest report from Community Health Services shows 2.7% of people who contracted the virus ultimately died in the county. Nearly 40% of the county’s population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to health officials. More than 65% of vaccinated residents are 65 and older.
Sen. Kelly Visits Flagstaff As State Braces For Fire Season
Senator Mark Kelly visited Flagstaff Wednesday to discuss local flood and fire risk; city officials say they reviewed the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, a $10 million plan designed to reserve water in the Rio De Flag and Lake Mary.
Mayor Paul Deasy says he met Kelly at the site of the 2019 Museum Fire. City officials reported last week that flood risk remains high for residents near the Museum Fire Burn Scar; a virtual joint meeting will be held on May 17 for further discussion. Kelly’s visit comes as fire officials predict an active and early fire season.
Arizona Law Passes House, Seeks To Curb “Controversial Issues” In Classrooms
The Arizona House of Representatives has narrowly passed legislation that would regulate teachings on “controversial issues.” Senate Bill 1532 states a school district cannot require teachers to discuss contested topics with students. The legislation also says teachers and schools cannot teach students to “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress” concerning their race, ethnicity or gender. Fines could be invoked through the legislation.
The bill passed along party lines with Republican support and Democratic opposition. State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman publicly criticized the bill Wednesday, saying it could prevent “inclusive and accurate” historical teachings.
Scholarships In The Works For Diné LGBTQ Students
The non-profit Diné Pride says it’s awarding scholarships to two high school seniors from the Navajo Nation; the one-thousand dollar scholarships were created specifically for students who identify as queer, LGBT or Two-Spirit. Diné Pride says applicants must discuss a contribution they made to the LGBTQIA community; the deadline to apply is May 28. Organizers say the recipients will be announced at a drive-in pride festival and virtual events this June.
A recent study from the National Clearinghouse Research Center found enrollment for public colleges dropped among Native American students by 12.5% — more than any other racial demographic.