Area Briefs: Dept. of Health issues new guidelines to reopen schools, businesses
On Wednesday, the Department of Health issued two public health emergency orders regarding the reopening of schools, allowing youth programs and allowing Navajo Nation parks to welcome visitors and tourists at a maximum of 50% occupancy.
The Nation’s yellow status continues, which allows businesses to operate at 50% occupancy, including restaurants, casinos, lodging/hotels, museums, zoos and parks and marinas.
On Tuesday, President Jonathan Nez signed the Navajo Nation Council resolution into law, which includes allowing roads to reopen to visitors and tourists.
Prior to reopening, all schools are required to develop and submit a School Reopening Plan to the Department of Diné Education.
During an online town hall on Wednesday, health officials reported that the majority of new COVID-19 infections and deaths involve individuals who are not vaccinated.
Ex-gov delivers Nike shoes for needy children
SHIPROCK – Former Gov. Bill Richardson today will deliver 300 pairs of Nike shoes to children from six Navajo communities in New Mexico.
The shoes were purchased for children in need by a partnership between the Governor Richardson-Peterson Zah COVID-19 Navajo Families Relief Fund, Notah Begay’s NB3 Foundation and the Nike N7 Fund.
Richardson, Navajo Nation officials, including Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton, and Dream Diné students and staff will distribute the shoes at 11 a.m. at the Dream Diné Charter School. Former Shiprock Chapter President Chili Yazzie will serve as master of ceremonies.
Richardson established the Richardson-Zah relief fund in April 2020 to help get essential supplies and equipment to the Navajo Nation to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund has provided numerous donations to Navajo people in the last 18 months, including food, water, diapers, personal protective equipment, and donations to burial funds.
“The donation of Nike shoes and sports equipment is another way we could focus on serving Navajo youth,” reads a press release that announced the event.
Bashas’ to replace City Market in Shiprock
SHIPROCK – Building on nearly four decades of serving the Navajo Nation, Bashas’ introduced a new Bashas’ Diné Market in Shiprock, according to a Wednesday news release.
The Diné Market – Bashas’ ninth grocery store on the Navajo Nation and second New Mexico location – will soon occupy what is currently City Market.
City Market will officially close at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 19, and reopen as a Bashas’ Diné Market at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 21.
Bashas’ will occupy the entire 42,108-square-foot-store, making it the new anchor tenant of the Shiprock /Tse’ Bit’ A’i Shopping Center at the corner of U.S. Highway 491 and Highway 64.
Across the Nation, at least 95% of Bashas’ Dine Market store members (employees) are Native American. According to its most recent employment figures, Bashas’ currently employs nearly 500 on the Nation.
Bashas’ will hire a majority of the City Market employees who worked at the location. Some employees will be transferred to other locations. The store will employ approximately 50 people.
Since opening its first Diné Market in 1982, Bashas’ has been an active and involved member of the Navajo Nation, supporting education, nutrition, art, health, and wellness through community programs and collaborations.
“This is a great partnership between the Navajo Nation and Bashas’ that will benefit Shiprock and surrounding communities,” President Jonathan Nez said. “I extend my appreciation to the Bashas’ family for supporting our Navajo communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and going above and beyond to ensure the safety of our community members and employees.”
The new grocery store will provide several economic benefits to the Shiprock community. Each Bashas’ Diné Market location gives back 25% of its profits to the Navajo Nation.
Through this profit-sharing arrangement, in addition to rent and percentage rent, Bashas’ has contributed upwards of $48 million to the Navajo Nation for educational scholarship and economic development.
As the Nation prepares to welcome the new Bashas’ to Shiprock, local leaders are grateful for the contributions City Market made to the community since its opening in 1986.
Shiprock Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton said, “I would like to thank City Market for all the years they have served the Shiprock community, and I look forward to working with Bashas’ now and in the years to come.
“I pray that this change will promote economic development and ensure employment opportunities to Navajo citizens in the Northern Agency,” she said.
Johnny Basha, vice president of special projects for Bashas’ Family of Stores, said, “Bashas’ Diné Markets exist and succeed because of our commitment to the Navajo people.”
Running Strong announces opening of ‘Dreamstarter’ applications
WASHINGTON – Running Strong for American Indian Youth on July 1 announced the opening of applications for the Dreamstarter Creative program.
Dreamstarter Creative provides grants to Native artists, graphic designers, illustrators, seamstresses, photographers, sculptors, and more.
Running Strong will donate up to $25,000 in grants to applicants to create a piece of work that celebrates their Indigenous identity. Applications are open through Sept. 1.
“The arts have always been inseparable from Indigenous identity,” said Billy Mills, Oglala Lakota, the national spokesperson and co-founder. “American Indian artists are the keepers of our cultures.”
On Oct. 14, 1964, Billy Mills won the 10,000-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics in a come-from-behind victory. He co-founded Running Strong for American Indian Youth to help others live their dreams.