American Indian Services Launches The Native Scholarship COVID Relief Project

American Indian Services (https://americanindianservices.org), a 501(c)(3) public charity announces their COVID Relief Project. AIS has been serving Native Americans nationally for nearly 40 years. The organization is utilizing unique resources and contacts to provide relief to those living on tribal lands in Utah and abroad.

American Indian Services (https://americanindianservices.org), a 501(c)(3) public charity headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT announces the launch of their urgent program, The COVID Relief Project. American Indian Services has been serving Native Americans nationally for nearly 40 years. The organization is utilizing their unique resources and contacts to provide much needed relief to those living on tribal lands in Utah and surrounding areas.


COVID-19 was comparatively slow to come to the Navajo Nation. The first case was recorded over two months after the virus first appeared in the United States. But after it arrived the disease traveled with the speed and destruction of a forest fire. On May 27th it was announced that the Navajo Nation had surpassed New York to become the area with the highest per-capita infection rate in the U.S.


The rapidity of the spread and the high rate of death were due mainly to a lack of infrastructure in this remote part of the country. There are also high rates of pre-existing conditions among citizens and lack of access to healthcare. About 40% of homes lack the running water necessary to follow the basic guidelines set forth by the CDC, and many homes are multigenerational. Both are factors that are believed to contribute to spread.


To combat the rising total of cases, this great tribal nation initiated mandatory weekend and weekday curfews. They were initially active for 8 weeks and have been reinstated periodically as the case count waxes and wanes. When weekend curfews are in effect, residents are required to stay at home starting Friday evening through Monday morning. The weekday curfew has been strictly reinforced between 8pm and 5am.


Many Native Americans living within the Navajo Nation are hours away from the closest grocery store. There have been anecdotal reports that cleaning supplies are nearly impossible to find at grocery stores on the reservation. This means that people have to travel even farther to find what they need in order to keep their families safe. These curfews and long distance to stores have made it extremely difficult for citizens to get supplies. It is especially difficult for elders who are dependent on family to get essentials. And for the households in quarantine – which number in the hundreds on any given day – getting what they need is made that much harder.


The reports from the Navajo Nation are dire. In a community where 1 in 3 children live in poverty, many children depend on school attendance in order to receive regular meals. As schools were shut down for months, the food insecurity of low income families on the reservation only deepened. Many low income children were only getting 1 meal a day until schools opened up again. Many breadwinners have lost their jobs after being exposed to the virus and going into quarantine, or as a result of the recession. Elders who live on roads only accessible by four wheel drive are close to starving because they aren’t able to get supplies.


The main focus at American Indian Services is providing educational scholarships and programs to Native American students. However, they often create special projects to meet the needs of their constituents. Due to the extreme challenges the Navajo Nation is facing, American Indian Services opened up a project to provide food and supplies. Since the pandemic began,


AIS has delivered 160,000 pounds of nonperishable goods to tribal citizens. These goods were divided into 1,200 family boxes and each box had enough provisions to provide for a family of 5 for four weeks. Once the boxes were ready, they were loaded into volunteer’s trucks and taken to cities throughout the Navajo and Hopi Nations. These cities included Kayenta-New Mexico, Chinle-Arizona, Fort Defiance-Arizona, Tuba City-Arizona, and Monument Valley-Utah.


The goal of the organization was for the boxes to be delivered to the families most in need of them. American Indian Services has made more deliveries since then, and will continue to provide supplies as the crisis persists.


Contact AIS directly at https://g.page/r/CTjDNa6xs-KSEBA or learn more about their Covid Relief Project at: https://americanindianservices.org/ais-provides-covid-relief-on-the-navajo-nation/.

Release ID: 88981364