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Dine Diary, Stories of Life on the "Rez" Entry 1

MHI has supported health and cultural awareness education for many years in Africa and throughout the US Native American communities. The US has an extensive dark legacy of adverse cultural and environmental impacts upon First Americans. We will include periodic updates from our friends on the “Rez” to share their beautiful community and Grace despite the many challenges. Justina recently completed the Mind Body Training along with several other MHI Safekeepers and we invited her to share her stories to inspire others and help raise awareness of their challenges and incredible determination and strength. We hope that you will continue to send support that we can share with them.The winning bid for this beautiful Navajo Rug made by her mother-in-law will be announced at our Nov 1 Wellness Workshop, all proceeds from its sale will go towards supporting that community. They are in need of basic supplies, food, gas cards, firewood, virtual work opportunities, seeds, earthboxes for winter indoor planting, baby clothes, Diabetic supplies, all of which MHI has been helping to provide throughout the pandemic.

The following is the 1st of a series of Justina’s stories she is courageously sharing with MHI.

Hello my name is Justina Yazzie and I'm from Arizona. I live on the reservation. I'm a native American Indian and my tribe is Navajo. I've lived on the reservation all my life (50 years). We go by clan to relate to each other, my clan, I'm Many goat, born for Edge water people, Salt people are my grandparents and Red towering people are my dad’s parent’s clan.

I was born in a small town which is called Winslow. At the time, the hospital I was born at was called PHS, now it is Indian Hospital Services. Winslow is like 50 miles away from where I live. I grew up here on the reservation. We only have one store here on the reservation near me, the store is very expensive so we go to the nearest town which is Winslow and Flagstaff is 100 miles away. I go there once a month, we go get groceries and materialistic stuffs. Living on the reservation is hard, we deal with alot. Everyone has lost someone during the pandemic.

Some of us don't have electricity, water running in our homes especially the elderlys. Wifi is limited.

Also some of us have cattle, horses, sheep and goats. It's hard to get water for them, the nearest places are the chapter houses but we have to pay for water in order to give water to our livestock.

We deal with Diabetes, cancers, and what ever sickness the natives have. When the pandemic started a lot of us got the Covid. Many of our people died from Covid, some of us made it through. I for one got the worst of it. Nearly died twice. I remember when my husband got it, he got really sick. I was brave enough to drive him 78 miles to nearest hospital, there we both got tested, so they took my husband, hospitalized him at another hospital called Little Colorado Hospital. I had to follow him to the other hospital visit with him for 20 minutes, he just told me to go home and he said he'll be ok. So I went on home I was terrified but made it home alone. We are always together, this was very scary to not know what would happen to him. I remember this was the first day of Covid for me. At first there was nothing wrong with me, I thought I was going to get through with this Covid ok. As that 1st night went through to a second day, I felt a little iffy, felt a little sick. By the third day, I was way more sick. I was the only one home at the time, my husband and I talked on the phone, we just checked up on each other, I remember. By the fourth day, I was way more sick.

I felt so weak and had a hard time breathing. Still, I was home only. So I felt like I couldn't be home alone another night .

I was so weak but I made myself get up and barely took a shower and clothed myself. I remember calling the ambulance but I was told they couldn't come out to pick me up. So with the little strength that I had left, I got in the car, drove 15 miles to in law’s houses but no one was there. So I was thinking, forget about it I'll just drive home and try to make it through another night. So I drove back home, by the time I was driving back into my driveway in front of my house there was help. The ambulance was there to to pick me up. I pulled up and a guy all dressed up in a white suit and mask and gloves came up to me and asked me, “Are you Justina Yazzie?”

I said yes, he said he came to pick me up and take me to the hospital. I remember him putting me on the stretcher and wheeling me in the ambulance. Then he asked me, “do you want me to get anything from your car, do you want me to lock your car?” I said yes. He locked the car doors and checked to see if my house was locked, he checked and said the door was locked. So then he got in with me and in back there was another driver. So I got transported to LMC (Little Medical Center) where my husband was at but I was in the emergency room. The doctor there told me they couldn’t do anything for me so he said he was going to transport me to Phoenix Mayo clinic by helicopter. Which was another 193 miles away from Winslow. So I got airlifted to Mayo clinic in Scottsdale in Phoenix.

Stay tuned to read the next installation of Justina’s Readings from the Rez.

If this story moves you, as it does us every time we hear it, please donate to MHI so we can continue to assist them with utilities, food, gas cards and other necessities to help them through the winter. Other organizations to support

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