Navajo/Hopi families relief fund shifts focus
On Sept. 15, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo created a secondary fundraiser that focuses on long-term sustainability work.
The organization, born from the immediate need for direct relief seen at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has transitioned to organizing more long-term sustainability initiatives.
In order to strengthen Navajo and Hopi communities, the group plans to use a new GoFundMe campaign dedicated solely toward the establishment of community centers across the Navajo Nation.
Ethel Branch, interim executive director, said, “Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s primary goal is to ensure the survivability of our people. We seek to fulfill this goal by ensuring reliable access to healthy food, bolstering the mental and emotional strength of our people, and supporting the creation of better, more human-centered systems that enable all in our communities to thrive.”
Through these community centers, Yee Ha’ólníi Doo hopes to continue the movement that began with volunteer leaders who stepped forward to help protect communities from the threat of COVID-19.
Titled “Navajo & Hopi Resiliency Fund,” this campaign will focus on the creation of innovation hubs designed to foster the social and small business entrepreneurship that has always existed in Navajo and Hopi communities but has long lacked adequate support and resources to flourish.
Positive effects have been seen by the community in Monument Valley and Oljato since the soft-opening of Yee Ha’ólníi Doo’s inaugural Tsébii’ndzisgaii Community Center.
Over its first two months of operation, over 230 residents have made use of the center’s resources. The most popular space is the business center, which provides residents with free access to computers, Wi-Fi, and machines with faxing, printing, and copying capabilities.
Programs and events held in these hubs will center on subjects like food security, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, youth leadership, traditional knowledge, and fluency in Indigenous languages.
These centers will nourish and rebuild Navajo and Hopi communities, making them pandemic-proof and climate change resilient for the benefit of future generations.
“Please join us in transforming our communities at the local level by making a donation towards the funding and development of more of these innovation hubs,” the organization said in a news release.