A GoFundMe campaign was recently launched to get food and other supplies to Navajo elders who may be quarantined or sheltering at home. The successful campaign has already paid for groceries and other supplies.
Since being set up on May 5, the fundraiser has netted more than $11,500 through 260 donors. Its organizer, Lizzy Scully of Four Corners Guides, initially hoped to raise about $5,000.
Her connection to the cause comes from her friend Jon Yazzie. Jon owns Dzil Ta’ah Adventures, a bikepacking business that takes people on bicycle tours of Navajo lands. Yazzie is a resident of Kayenta, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation and a full-blooded Navajo.
Scully was able to amplify the campaign to other bikepackers and the outdoor adventure community.
Reached by phone recently, Jon expressed amazement at the success of the GoFundMe campaign.
“I think it’s a huge blessing,” he said. “I feel good that part of the organizations of the riding and the biking people are doing their part in how much they care about the people and the landscapes here.”
More than $10,000 has already been sent to Kayenta Township, where officials are making sure the neediest elders are getting groceries and water.
Yazzie has the perspective of seeing his hometown change during the pandemic. “I don’t really see a lot of people in fear,” he explained. “But I do see people generally concerned about trying to do their part and flattening the COVID curve.”
He also sees signs of optimism. In a strange way, the coronavirus has brought people together. Albeit six feet apart.
“I didn’t use to see a lot of people out and about. The good thing is I’m seeing a lot of people walking. It seems different; it seems more calm…it just seems more family-oriented to me now.”
Yazzie also sounded hopeful as he assessed the Navajo people’s resiliency in the face of a pandemic that has led to more than 5,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among tribal members. The large caseload has been widely reported on some media outlets.
“Despite what everybody’s reading and hearing, Navajo people are strong, resilient people. We’ll all get through this.”
Donate or learn more about the GoFundMe Campaign for Navajo Elders.
I’m reporting on the impact of the coronavirus in the Four Corners region for KSUT Public Radio. The stories and audio here were previously aired and published by KSUT. Stories are archived at Open Range News.
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