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Update on GoFundMe Campaign For Kayenta's Navajo Elders

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KSUT recently spoke with a Mancos resident who started aGoFundMe campaign to get food and other supplies to Navajo elders who may be quarantined or sheltering at home.

The effort was coordinated with Jon Yazzie a resident of Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Nation and a full-blooded Navajo. The fundraiser has been successful and groceries are already going to support elders in that area. KSUT's Mark Duggan reached out to Yazzie to get an update:

 

Since being set up on May 5, the fundraiser has netted more than $11,400 through 260 donors. Its organizer, Lizzy Scully of Four Corners Guides, originally hoped to raise about $5,000.

Listen to ourinterview with Scully, which aired on KSUT May 13.

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. 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 theGoFundMe Campaign for Navajo Elders.

KSUT COVID-19 news reporting is made possible by support from individual donors and the Colorado Media Project.

 

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