CEI Launches a Campaign For The Hopi Tribe During the Pandemic
Last month, our office assistant, Alexis Kahe, launched a donation campaign to collect water and essential supplies for the Hopi Tribe in Northern Arizona. In two weeks, the Phoenix community donated 163 cases of water, 80 cleaning solutions, 80 paper products food and cleaning supplies to provide to 88 households. Several of our staff members traveled to Flagstaff on May 20, 2020 to hand off donations. Since then, Alexis and her team have been distributing the donated supplies to community members from her family’s convenience store, Honani C-Store and Gallery.
In addition to her role at CEI, Alexis is a member of the Hopi Tribe, student at GateWay Community College. When Maricopa Community College employees began working from home in March following the COVID-19 outbreak, Alexis returned to the Indian Nations to help her family. With only five convenience stores to serve over 10,000 residents, people often travel to Flagstaff to stock up on supplies. Buying bottled water is especially important because the Hopi’s water source is contaminated by arsenic. With many stores running low on essential goods or instating quantity limits due to the Coronavirus pandemic, members of the Hopi Tribe are unable to find the supplies they need.
“The Hopi reservation is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, which has been hit very hard with positive COVID-19 cases. In response to this, eight of twelve villages have been closed off to non-residents, and the reservation as a whole has discouraged non-tribal member visitation, and only essential trips should be made by tribal members,” Alexis shared. In addition to limiting access to supplies, the outbreak has had a major cultural impact. She continued, “The Hopi people are said to be caretakers of the Earth and participate in year-round cultural ceremonies, with intent of prayers for rain and the well-being of all living creatures. The increase of COVID-19 cases has resulted in a halt of the ceremonial calendar for possibly the remainder of the year, which has greatly impacted the community whose ceremonies are a large part of their way of life.”
Although it was a great start, this Phoenix-based donation campaign won’t solve the root of their water contamination crisis, or protect the community from COVID-19. In addition to organizing this donation effort with her CEI coworkers, she is developing a grassroots public health campaign with her cousins, Ellyse Fredricks and Storm Tso, to educate tribe members on the dangers of COVID-19 and how to prevent the virus from spreading. They’re also reaching out to potential donors across the Southwest and have launched a GoFundMe to raise more money for supplies.
You can help Alexis and the Hopi people by donating here!