Stories of Resilience from Indian Country Volume 4

Tribal governments throughout Indian Country continue to generously donate supplies and resources to aid their communities through the challenges presented by COVID-19. Today, we are happy to bring you many examples of this generosity in the face of adversity. If you would like to join donation efforts, more opportunities to contribute are included below. 

Since schools in North Dakota were closed on March 16, the Standing Rock district has been distributing sack lunches to students and families at the schools or delivering them through the neighborhoods in school buses. Last Friday, The Muscogee (Creek) Nation partnered with Walmart to offer emergency food assistance to any citizens in need. Food was distributed without requiring families to leave their cars. Earlier this week, The Klamath Tribes of Oregon donated 1,000 N95 masks to the local Sky Lakes Medical Center. On Wednesday, the Yurok Tribe delivered 312 boxes of food and other essential items to Tribal elders. The Yurok Health and Human Services Food Distribution Program is offering a 30-day supply of groceries to residents who are enrolled members of any federally recognized tribe and have been laid off or had work hours reduced as a result of the pandemic. 

Despite being among the hardest hit areas, the Navajo Nation and local allies continue displaying resilience. St. Mary’s Food Bank, with locations in Phoenix and Surprise, distributed food to 2,000 families in Tuba City on Tuesday. According to Tribal police, the drive-thru line for food distribution was about five miles long an hour before the mobile pantry was set to open. The food bank brought in four tractor-trailers with nearly 100,000 pounds of food and distributed it through a no person-to-person contact procedure in less than three hours. President Nez shared his appreciation on Twitter. Impressively, the GoFundMe Relief Fund started by former Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch and others continues to grow rapidly. The Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund has now surpassed $740,000 raised from nearly 11,000 unique donors. 

If you are able to contribute, there are other opportunities to donate. Partnership with Native Americans created a coronavirus emergency response fund, where donations will help restock warehouses and deliver food and supplies to those in need. Last month, Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Inc. started the Flicker Fund, which goes directly to Indigenous community generated and led initiatives. Earlier this week, NDN Collective launched an emergency relief fund with an ambitious $10M goal. It will include grants and support to Native nonprofits, artists, and tribes, as well as loans to impacted Indigenous businesses. 

It is imperative to remember that we will transcend this adversity to find many better days ahead. These stories and newly created funds continue to highlight our collective Indigenous strength and resilience; they bring positivity and light to what are often otherwise dark times. As always, please be well and remember to stay home, stay healthy, and stay connected.