‘A Very Limited Budget’
State departments do not have specific plans for financially assisting pueblos, tribes, Navajo Nation in case of an outbreak of COVID-19 Taos Pueblo | Karol M. / Wikimedia Commons As the COVID-19 outbreak hits New Mexico, state departments do not have specific plans to support its 23 different pueblos and tribes. People on tribal lands face the same problems as the rest of the state, such as shortages of toilet paper and canned goods and difficulty accessing testing, according to the state Indian Affairs Department. But those challenges come without the same resources and variety of incomes as cities and counties.
“The department has a very limited budget, so we are working with this administration as well as our federal partners to leverage resources to support tribal communities,” writes New Mexico Indian Affairs Secretary Lynn Trujillo. “We will continue to look at a variety of mechanisms to potentially provide support as needed.”
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has equally nondescript strategies for assisting tribes as major revenue losses follow the closing of the casinos. Tribal lands are not exempt from the virus. Thirty-nine cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Navajo Nation, according to reporting by the Navajo Times .
On March 18, New Mexico In Depth reported Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez asking tourists to “stay at home” as tourist areas closed. Leaders are not waiting for the state to offer help. On Friday, the Navajo Nation Council passed legislation asking Lujan Grisham for access to Medicaid dollars to […]