For much of the last year, the highest per capita rate of coronavirus infections belonged not to New York City, nor New Jersey, but to a 27,000-square-mile territory in the southwestern US called the Navajo Nation. Encompassing 3 states and 309,000 members, the Navajo Nation is the country’s largest Native American tribe.
It was also, in 2020, one of its worst hot spots. But the COVID-19 crisis, like so many others that have afflicted Indian Country, was decades in the making — borne of a long legacy of neglect and promises broken by the U.S. government.
Here to share the unique challenges his people have navigated, their successes, as well as their priorities with a more receptive US administration, is Jonathan Nez, the 9th President of the Navajo Nation, and the youngest in its history. I learned a lot from him and am excited for you to hear what he has to say.
To learn more about the Navajo Nation, check out:
- this brief retelling of their history
- the Navajo Department of Health’s page on COVID-19
- President Nez’s testimony to the U.S. House last July, about tribal needs amid the pandemic
- this CNN feature on their tremendously successful vaccination campaign
To listen to more Civic Rx, visit us at civic-rx.org.