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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2020 All rights reserved
March 23, 2020

     Native Americans are seeking help from the federal government they deny.  Sharon Bahe has made her home on the Navajo Nation a refuge, placing cedar branches and burning sage to help purify the space and praying for protection for herself and her children home from boarding school and a toddler with severe asthma. Her community of about 500 in northern Arizona has become a hot spot for the new coronavirus, with several cases confirmed. While other kids play outside, she tells hers they can't “until the virus goes away.”

     Officials on the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation, on Friday broadened a stay-at-home order from Chilchinbeto to the entire reservation: No visitors in, and residents can't leave their homes except for essential tasks, including to get food and medical supplies. The order is among the strictest yet in Indian Country, though tribes across the U.S. for weeks have been preparing amid worries that the outbreak could quickly overwhelm a chronically underfunded health care system and affect a population that suffers disproportionately from cancer, diabetes and some respiratory diseases.

     They've shut down casinos, hotels and tourist destinations — often their primary revenue sources — and reminded citizens of the resiliency of their ancestors.

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