Navajo Nation’s experience with COVID-19 and their large 2020 election voter turnout

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Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has ordered a three-week lockdown due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. This comes after the nation hit a record number of cases in one day and now reports over 600 deaths since the pandemic began.

Horizonte host José Cardenas spoke to President Nez about the surge in COVID-19 cases and also about the recent election and how Navajos turned out in big numbers for Joe Biden.

Nez has been working a food and supply distribution event for those within the Navajo Nation who are struggling this holiday season.

He explained that their three-week lockdown is to reduce the large number of cases we are seeing across the nation that is seeping into the Navajo Nation.

Nez is asking that every community member wear a mask, social distance and stay home so they can stop these cases from going larger and larger.

“You have to be optimistic to lead a nation. And I am confident that our Navajo people are going to remember what has worked. I mean, we the same fatigue COVID fatigue that’s happening out there, is also happening here on the Navajo Nation, people want to just get back to some normal day operation,” said Nez.

He also said, “As you know, we don’t have a vaccine until we get a vaccine, then we’ll start beginning to go back to some normal, everyday task. And we’re hopeful…you got to be hopeful.”

Although COVID-19 has hit Navajo Nation very hard, they still came out with a high voter turnout in this years election.

Nez and others utilized the food and supply distribution events to provide not only food to their residents, but voter information and registering people to vote.

He said, “I think we did our very best to get the word out. And we also told the Democratic party that they shouldn’t take Native American votes for granted.”

Nez continued by saying him and the community are tired of the divisiveness and hate speech.

Six Native Americans were voted into Congress this election as well and, “it’s an exciting time for Native Americans…here’s an opportunity for these six Native Americans that were voted into Congress to educate the rest of the Senate and the House on Native American issues. And it’s a promising time,” said Nez.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez

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