The Navajo Nation’s Lack of Clean Water Has Fueled a COVID-19 Crisis []

Because of its unique legal status and decades of neglect from the federal government, the Navajo Nation has often been excluded from water infrastructure projects, according to NPR. To make matters worse, groundwater in the region has been heavily contaminated by mining and other extractive industries, which has left many Navajo people with pre-existing conditions that further expose them to the virus.

As lockdown and curfew measures continue, families are having a harder time getting water, according to Bleu Adams (Mandan/Hidatsa, Diné), a Navajo activist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Protect Native Elders.

She said that many families are beginning to ration water.

Read the complete article here.



Personal story from PNE Co-founder Tyrone Whitehorse on

  • Tyrone Whitehorse, of the Navajo Nation, writes that the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on his community.
  • Navajo Nation currently has the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in the United States.
  • The reservation, which has a population of 173,000 people, has had 4,434 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 147 deaths, making an infection rate of 2.5%.
  • Whitehorse writes that it’s hard to follow public health guidelines when the reservation is facing “systemic disparities,” like limited access to healthcare, minimal running water, and a lack of protective supplies.

Read the complete story here.

Our collaboration with the Economist on threat of the pandemic to Native Americans

American Indians face an acute risk from COVID-19. The loss of elders is a blow to their cultures.

The Spokane people have an unusual way of saying “he got sick”: in their form of the Salish language it translates literally as “he was greeted by an illness”, using the ordinary verb for one person greeting another. In Spokane culture, illnesses are considered entities, like animals or humans. Though they may be enemies, they are to be treated with respect, not fear.

Read this powerful piece here.

PNE Co-founder Bleu Adams on MSNBC’s “Last Word” highlights need for water, electricity, broadband

Bleu Adams, a Navajo business owner and co-founder of the volunteer group “Protect Native Elders” which is distributing relief to native communities, tells Lawrence O’Donnell the “lack of infrastructure regarding access to electricity, water and internet” makes it challenging to contain the spread of coronavirus. Watch the segment here.

Bleu Adams on MSNBC’s “Last Word”



PNE co-founder Bleu Adams interviewed for

Protect Native Elders, a Native-led volunteer organization providing support to tribal communities, says inadequate infrastructure among tribal communities makes distributing supplies during coronavirus more difficult. 

“There are no distribution systems, phones, electricity or broadband service and terrible roads in most rural areas,” Bleu Adams, Navajo business owner and cofounder of Protect Native Elders, said.

Read the complete article here

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