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Groups deliver supplies to New Mexico’s tribal communities

The New Mexico National Guard delivers personal protective equipment to Laguna Pueblo this week.  Source: New Mexico National Guard

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in New Mexico’s tribal communities. But new fundraising efforts have brought food, water, propane, cleaning supplies and masks to pueblos and tribes throughout the state.

Many tribal communities in New Mexico have stay-at-home orders and curfews to prevent spread of the disease. Residents often live far from grocery stores, making it difficult to get scarce supplies.

The New Mexico Indian Affairs Department is working with the New Mexico National Guard and other state agencies to coordinate bulk food deliveries for tribes and pueblos.

“Many tribal communities are rural, and do not have access to the supplies and resources they need,” Indian Affairs Secretary Lynn Trujillo said in a statement, adding that the department would continue to serve the most vulnerable communities.

The agencies have delivered food to Zia, Zuni, Laguna, Picuris and Santa Ana pueblos, and to the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Navajo Nation.

Water trucks have been sent to Shiprock, Crownpoint, Alamo, To’hajiilee, Chichiltah, Whitehorse Lake, Manuelito and Torreon. Supplies were purchased with help from the Native American Relief Fund.

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and the All Pueblo Council of Governors are using money from the Pueblo Relief Fund to deliver food and water for tribal communities in the state. Food boxes were delivered to Zia Pueblo last week, and care packages will go to 22 tribal communities this week.

DigDeep worked with Nestlé Water to deliver 124,000 gallons of bottled water to Navajo elders, those without transportation and those under quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. Another delivery is underway this week. In New Mexico, water was delivered to Thoreau, Prewitt and Gallup.

Navajo Nation government officials distributed food, water, firewood and protective equipment at chapter houses, including in remote areas of New Mexico, such as Pueblo Pintado and Torreon. Navajo Community Health Representatives deliver boxes to residents without transportation. Supplies are purchased with help from the official Navajo Nation COVID-19 Fund.

The City of Albuquerque collected donations for the Navajo community of To’hajiilee. About 5,800 pounds of hygiene products, cleaning supplies and nonperishable food were delivered to the small community about 40 miles west of Albuquerque.

In a statement, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said the city had “stepped up to prove we’re in this together while staying apart.”

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has also delivered potable water to communities on the Navajo reservation with limited water infrastructure.

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