An Open Letter to the United States Congress on the 2020 Genocide of the Navajo and Utte People
I lived on the Navajo Reservation in Utah for a small time as a child, and write this from that perspective. News today of the devastating developments of covid-19 and the Navajo people has ripped my heart out of my chest, and spurred me to write this in attempt to really explain this situation in an emotional way to anyone reading by sharing a few of my memories there.
I remember there were 12 of us sleeping in a single wide trailer which provided just enough floor space for everyone to lie down. I remember the smell of fry bread. I remember my skin being constantly painted with the clay earth we’d use to make mud pies for tea parties. I remember the evening when the big girls let us walk with them after dark, giggling and running under an exploding sky of stars. I remember hearing what I thought was the sound of a coyote. I remember then being told we needed to run. That we couldn’t be caught alone as girls. I remember understanding what that meant even though I was not yet in puberty.
I remember powwows. I remember the feeling of the earth beneath my bare feet and the sound of drums, and the lightness of my spirit as we danced. I remember the connectivity and the love and the sense of belonging both to each other and the earth on which we danced.
I want you to imagine now this beautiful place, under siege by a deadly pandemic. I want you to picture the one small clinic that serves the res for hundreds of miles. I want you to understand now that they have more cases per cap than NYC and that news of our people doesn’t make the prime time news. I want you to imagine being the doctor alone facing this. I want you to imagine what it is like to ask for help, but know better than to wait for it to arrive.
So in summation, to the next “leader” who sends out a strongly worded tweet: I want you to know it isn’t enough. IT ISN’T ENOUGH. You’ve already failed us. I didn’t think this nation could do any more evil than it already has in this arena. I was wrong. I want you to know that I consider our government a Failed State for this reason and many more.
I want you to understand that how I feel right now is that I can never vote for either standing party in the United States again in my lifetime, because both the GOP and DNC have allowed this happen. That is how this feels watching the Washpee just have their land stripped and taken. How it feels knowing so many are suffering so greatly and that our leadership in this Nation is playing a series of games.
Were I a sitting US Senator or Congresswoman right now, I’d have already chained myself to the podium in Congress if that’s what it took to save lives. This is not the Nation I grew up in, as flawed as that one was. This is a Nation that is dark, corrupt, and at war from within. I do not know that we will ever see even our former version returned to us.