COLORADO SPRINGS — Truckloads of supplies will soon make their way out of Colorado Springs, about 450 miles out to Navajo Nation in Arizona.
“Since COVID hit, we are now sending essential items to the various tribes to help alleviate the need of what everybody needs: the toilet paper, the cleaning supplies, the hand sanitizer, just food. There’s limited resources,” said Kathy Turzi, executive director of One Nation Walking Together
One Nation Walking Together has been serving Native American communities since the 1980s.
The organization says Native Americans make up one of the most underserved populations in the country.
“Right now, on a per capita basis, they have the highest rate of the COVID and the highest death rate, over 13 states. They need help. There’s not enough national attention on what’s going on with the native peoples. Other tribes are also being afflicted by the virus. We’re starting to open up as a community. Our restaurants are opening up, our YMCAs going to be opening up. And they’re still having curfews,” Turzi said.
Packed along with the essentials to fight coronavirus are face masks and face shields.
“This is 3D printed, this part right here. And it was done by hundreds of individuals throughout the state who have home 3D printers. Add a rubber band on the back, and now you have a face shield,” said John Norton, a volunteer with Make4COVID.
The organization says these items will help thousands of people.
“Native peoples have the highest rate of heart disease, tuberculosis, diabetes, so they have a lot of preexisting conditions, which put them at higher risk. Many people on the reservations have multigenerational living in the home. So, they have eight, 10, 14 people living in the home. Because that’s traditional living. You live with your family, and so when one person gets tested positive, the spread is more quick,” Turzi said.
One Nation Walking Together serves multiple Native American tribes, covering Montana, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Arizona.
“Today, we’re taking a box truck down to Navajo Nation. We’re going to be meeting with Dr. Michelle Tom, who may have seen already on the news, who is working in Navajo Nation treating various tribe members afflicted with the virus,” Turzi said.