We hope this message finds you healthy and safe. It is a very difficult time - where the inequities of our current system are laid bear and the impacts of COVID-19 are disproportionately felt by communities of color and working class families. In New Mexico that means devastating impacts on Indigenous communities. You may have seen the news, nearly 53% of the people infected by the virus are Native American due to ongoing injustices such as a lack of running water, limited food outlets, and increased health risks due to environmental racism.
Our team in the Four Corners region is observing first hand the vulnerability of those who have compromised health due to our state's dependence on coal, gas, and nuclear extraction. According to a recent Harvard Study those living places with high levels of fine particulate pollution are 15% more likely to die from COVID-19. The study suggests that counties with higher pollution levels “will be the ones that have higher numbers of hospitalizations, higher numbers of deaths and where many of the resources should be concentrated.” Sure enough we see this in McKinley and San Juan Counties.
It is critical that we stand in solidarity with the Indigenous communities within whose lands we reside and leverage the resources at our disposal to support emergency relief efforts and as well as community-led work to build resilience.
Kim and Makai and the Doolii Diné crew launched the Nihik'e Baa Mutual Aid Effort in March and have been leading relief efforts on the ground in Northern Agency since the virus hit. Drawing on the networks of relationships in villages throughout the area that they developed through the Just Transition Health Impact Assessment (HIA) work, they've been able to deliver food and supplies out to 480 households in the area with elders, immunocompromised, or children but no income.
They are serving as the northern agency distribution center for the wider Hopi/Navajo Solidarity COVID-19 Relief Effort - which has raised more than a million dollars and is sending semi-truck loads of supplies to be delivered to the farm in Hogback where Kim and Makai live and where the Distribution Center is headquartered. It's a beautiful and courageous effort.
Please join us by investing in this critical work! See a message and call for solidarity from the frontlines below:
"Mutual aid is nothing new to Diné People, or other Indigenous people...it has always been in our teachings and practice to take care and look out for the well being of one another. Mutual aid is deeply rooted in our songs, prayers and stories. Our ancestors took care of each other when many other sicknesses came to our people brought by settlers, long before Covid 19. We are just following in their moccasins and stepping up to love, nurture, pray and protect our people today. It is about how we take care of the land and life on the land...it is about how we take care of each other with K'é, love, kindness, food & prayer; it is about respect & responsibility; Nihi K'é Baa' (For Our Relatives).
We are asking for support and solidarity not just during this Covid 19 pandemic but for our efforts to build resilience in our community in the face of this crisis and the looming climate crisis. Our organizing efforts are bringing immediate aid but we are also building networks of relationships and reclaiming traditional land and food practices that will help heal our people and the land long-term.
With your solidarity we are regenerating. We are reclaiming and bringing back our old ways of life and traditions. This means rebuilding our ancestral food hubs & apothecaries, (sustainable farming/gardening projects), food storage/redistribution, reestablishing traditional trading/economies...etc, to feed and nourish our communities. Seed and food justice/sovereignty, that is our goal, our vision. Also our duty in defense of water, land and our sacred places against the destruction of the industry is stronger than ever and is woven throughout our efforts and work. For much of the healing that must be done is as a result of the damage caused by the fossil fuel industry and by many years of extreme resource extraction.
To our allies/comrades/accomplices: our homelands, our resources and people have powered and fed the economy of this country, metropolitan towns and cities at the expenses of our health and wellbeing. As our homelands and people are hit with the Covid 19 pandemic, we are calling on you all to stand up in true solidarity. Solidarity not charity!"
''We are nothing if we walk alone; we are everything when we walk together in step with other dignified feet'' - EZLN
We have been on the ground doing mutual aid relief for almost two months here in Diné Bihkeyah. Our staff time with New Energy Economy has been dedicated 100% to this effort. The Hopi/Navajo COVID-19 Relief Effort Fundraising has covered the costs of the semis of supplies we are distributing to our community. Your support and solidarity will help us keep our distribution center running.
In addition to helping us maintain our vehicles, stay safe, and support volunteers, your contribution will enable us to grow food, can-food and make ancestral bread/recipes to add to the care packages in the true spirit of food sovereignty to increase the health and the consumption of healthy, organic, non-process food in between our people during this time of pandemic. Support and donations don't have to be monetary all the time, we are thankful for any support!
For USPS Shipments:
Nihi K'é Baa' Attention Kim Smith , P.O. Gox 383, Shiprock, NM 87420. Be sure that any shipment is made through USPS. We are having trouble with Fed Ex or UPS to deliver to our region
If you can only send UPS or FedEx:
Nihi K'é Baa' Attention Eric Lewis #5 road 6346 Kirkland, NM, 87417.
We are autonomously organizing our mutual aid relief efforts to reestablish our ancestral ways of taking care of each other and the land. We want to increase and sharpen our skills within our communities to stand up and support each other without the interference or cooptation of non-Indigenous entities and organizations. This is an Indigenous-led mutual aid effort.
· Personal Protective Equipment for relief volunteers and community members
· Funds for gas to distribute care/food packages out to families
· Support to upkeep our delivery vehicles
· bags/boxes for drop offs
· Food for relief workers
· Hand sanitizers
· Supplies for our food garden projects to feed our communities
· Disinfectant wipes
· Funds to cover printing costs
· Seeds, herbs and medicine
· Funds for a solar shower for our volunteers
· Pet/cattle food
· A freezer
· A flat bed trailer for deliveries
· Materials for a bread oven