Itʼs a hardscrabble existence for many of the 175,000 Navajo who live on the 27,000 square miles of tribal lands that stretch across the borders of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The median household income hovers around $30,000 a year, and more than a quarter of homes have no electricity.
In early May, the coronavirus was spreading so fast that New Mexico blockaded roads in and out of Gallup, the picturesque town on the edge of the Navajo nation known as the “heart of Indian country.”
The pandemic followed a particularly tough winter for some families. In November, the Kayenta strip mine and the Navajo Generating Station it supplied, both on tribal lands, finished shutting down, eliminating 800 relatively high-paying jobs and a free source of coal used by many Navajo to heat their homes. Continue Reading →