From the Publisher: Navajo people are proud, strong and resilient
Today is Tuesday, Dec. 29, and we are on an early press deadline again this week so that we can get you our 2020 year-end issue a day early. Our final Navajo Times publication of this year will be available at your local newsstands on Wednesday morning, Dec. 30.
We published the newspaper early this week for two primary reasons. The first is that we want our readers to have access to the newspaper early so that as everyone prepares for the New Year’s holiday and stays home, they will have the Navajo Times to read and share as they ring in the new year with their loved ones.
The second reason is that we want our Navajo Times staff and carriers to be at home, safe and secure on New Year’s Eve, which this year falls on a Thursday, which is also our regular publishing and delivery day. The roads can be busy and dangerous during the holidays and it’s a risk to be out driving around on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Our 2020 year-end issue includes photos and columns on this past year. The year 2020 has certainly been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its effects. Just like other newspapers and media across the United States and throughout the world, the Navajo Times recorded a lot of the local and regional news, happenings and events that transpired with the pandemic. We are sharing some of those past stories and photos with you this week.
2020 also experienced and witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of the state and national elections. The whole election process was tested at length this past year and that resulted in much division and disharmony among the diverse people of this land.
There were marches, riots, shootings and killings that took place all across the country, in Phoenix and Albuquerque, due to differences and disagreement among people over their political philosophies, issues, beliefs, history and, of course, their candidates.
This was especially true of the race for U.S. president where the mudslinging and accusations among all candidates began in early January, with President Donald Trump leading the charge. In fact, as of today, the public confusion and the political controversy over the whole election process and the final election results are still thriving, with no real end in sight.
As my grandkids would aptly say, “Too much drama, Papa!”
No doubt the coronavirus has touched the lives of just about everyone throughout the entire world. I cannot say everybody has been affected because, amazingly, there are people who still believe that the coronavirus is a hoax, a political ploy or religious myth, and they have no reason or desire to wear a mask, to practice any kind of safety protocol, and to keep their children and themselves at home. That kind of thinking is sad and scary.
Out here in Navajoland, the coronavirus has brought much tragedy, sadness, anger and stress to the Navajo people and their families, relatives and friends. The ongoing battle to keep the people on the Navajo Nation and surrounding areas safe from the coronavirus is a tough, ongoing fight. The coronavirus does not discriminate and as we have all come to learn, it can be deadly.
Many people are sick and tired of talking and hearing about the coronavirus, listening about it on the radio and TV, and reading about it in the newspapers every day. But you have to realize that being aware of what is happening, and taking necessary action when needed, is part of the daily battle to defeat this dangerous disease.
We can’t stop talking about it, or hearing the news, until we have defeated the coronavirus.
We will win this battle because the Navajo people are proud, strong and resilient. We have encountered and fought against many other unseen, unfamiliar and strange enemies in our past, and we have survived these battles. Our traditions, songs and prayers are our shield and protection.
In fighting this battle, we have suffered many casualties and accumulated many wounded. These sacrifices are part of our fight against this deadly enemy.
To all of you who have lost loved ones, family members, friends and co-workers, due to the coronavirus and its sickly effects, I sympathize with your loss. Just like thousands of other Navajo and Native people, my fellow co-workers, our carriers and I have experienced the deaths of family members and relatives during this pandemic.
The heartbreaking trauma is that once your loved one is hospitalized, you are basically helpless in providing personal care and support because you cannot be by their side. You have to do what you can from outside of the hospital like talk to them through a cell phone, or wave to them if they can see you through their hospital room window.
If your loved one is moved into the ICU ward, then all you can really do is pray for their recovery and healing. Sometimes your loved one will eventually survive and walk out of the hospital. Sometimes they do not and that is when the heartbreak really hits home.
I hope and pray that you will not ever have to suffer through this kind of situation and that you and all of your family, relatives and friends stay healthy, safe and strong.
As we head into the new year of 2021, let us all come together even more to fight and win this battle against the coronavirus. It is a battle that we will ultimately win but if we can all support one another, love one another, and take care of each other, we will not have to lose any more of our dear loved ones.
In closing, I want to give special thanks and sincere gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses, health professionals, police officers, EMTs, medicine men, traditionalists, tribal leaders, volunteers and everyone else who is on the frontline of battling against the coronavirus and helping our people.
I also respect and appreciate the entire Navajo Times staff and our carriers who continue to go out and talk to the people all across the Navajo Nation and then tell their stories through our printed articles and photographs in the Newspaper of the Navajo People. We support each other and we care about our people.
Have a wonderful, safe Happy New Year and God Bless all people, animals and plants on Mother Earth. Thank you!