Navajo

US Forest Service/Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest officials say they’ll contribute firewood to local tribes as part of the ongoing Hart Prairie meadow restoration project.

FUSD

Many Native students who attend school in Flagstaff live in a dormitory operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs because their family homes are far away, scattered on the vast Navajo Nation. But when schools shut their doors at the start of the pandemic, they had to go home…where they faced not only a sudden switch to online classes, but also a lack of access to Internet, electricity, food and water. Teachers and counselors worked long hours to stay connected to their students, many of whom were suffering from isolation and fear. Darrell Marks is the Native American academic advisor at Flagstaff High School. Tomorrow he receives a special award for courage from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation for risking his health and safety to help others during the pandemic. In this audio postcard, we meet Darrell Marks who says the recognition is bittersweet after a year of heartbreaking loss.


Angela Gervasi

  

Dozens of demonstrators marched through downtown Flagstaff Sunday night, protesting colonization, fascism, and police in light of Arizona’s first official Indigenous Peoples Day. Wearing masks — some also wore military fatigues — participants also expressed opposition to Columbus Day, which remains a national holiday in the United States. 

Deidra Peaches/Change Labs

The City of Flagstaff is hosting a virtual celebration today in honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day. Organizers of the event say it’s an opportunity for Native and non-Native people alike to understand the violent history of colonialism—and also envision a better future. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with two Diné speakers at today’s event, Rose Toehe and Carmenlita Chief.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Students in the Flagstaff Unified School District are doing their coursework entirely online at least through October 9th because of the pandemic. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, that’s been a challenge for Native American students who live on reservations with unreliable or nonexistent Internet access.


Melissa Sevigny

A unique partnership is addressing a home heating crisis on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, by supplying hundreds of cords of firewood from forest restoration projects. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

Getty Images/Mark Ralston

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on everyone. But for Indigenous people and people of color, even simple precautions like washing your hands and wearing a mask are complicated by racism and longstanding disparities in access to resources. Sonja Smith is a cultural anthropology student at Northern Arizona University who recently wrote about racism and the pandemic in an online journal called The Conversation. Smith spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about the deep divide between Arizona’s tribal nations and the bordering towns.


Red Feather Development Group

Frequent handwashing is one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus disease, but many homes on the Hopi and Navajo Nations don’t have access to clean, running water. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, a nonprofit group is working on that problem with do-it-yourself handwashing stations.


Deidra Peaches, Change Labs

The Navajo Nation has been enforcing stay-at-home orders, curfews and weekend lockdowns for months to try and slow the spread of coronavirus. And that’s presented a challenge for artists, vendors, and small businesses on the reservation that rely on tourism and don’t have online stores. A business incubator called Change Labs is offering up to $5,000 loans to Native entrepreneurs on the Navajo and Hopi Nations to help them cope with the pandemic. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with Change Lab’s Jessica Stago about the unusual loan program based on the idea of ‘kinship lending.’

Krista Allen / Navajo Times

The Navajo Nation is one of the hardest hit areas by coronavirus in the United States. That presents a grim reality for funeral homes during this crisis. The Navajo Nation has a burial assistance program that helps tribal members with some funeral costs, but of the 11 mortuaries that participate, only two are located in Arizona. The Valley Ridge Mortuary in Tuba City has had to bring on more staff and add a temporary storage unit due to the death toll. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with the mortuary’s director Michael Begay about the emotional impact on himself and his staff.


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