U of U researcher and tribal member collecting donations for Navajo Nation

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(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — University of Utah research associate, Heather Tanana, worked with local partners to create Utah Tribal COVID-19 Relief, or UTCR, in efforts to provide relief to Utah’s eight tribes from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the university.

RELATED: Navajo Nation reports 147 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 more deaths

“I am Diné (Navajo) of the Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House) clan. It’s been heartbreaking to see the sharp rise of COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation reservation (it has the third highest infection rate in the U.S.),” said Tanana.  “My father is directly assisting our tribal community on the front-line. He is at risk himself for getting COVID-19. But when I asked him why he is willing to take the risk, he humbly replied, “It’s not because I’m Superman or the most knowledgeable. It’s just because I care.”

Like her dad, Tanana wanted to reach out to help those in her community. Through UTCR, she is collecting item donations through May 15 and monetary donations through the end of the month.

Specifically, she is collecting the following items for the Navajo Nation:

  • Disposable masks and cloth/fabric masks
  • Cleaning supplies, including disinfectant wipes and spray
  • Liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer
  • Toiletries
  • Thermometers
  • Paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, and tissue)
  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water
  • Baby necessities, including formula, diapers, and wipes
  • Children’s items (educational materials and learning games)

“Tribal communities face several challenges that make it difficult to combat COVID-19, such as a shortage of medical providers and food and water insecurity. As a result, Native Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Tanana.

RELATED: Navajo Nation mourns death of former pageant titleholder and tribal employee to COVID-19

She said she hopes that Utahns will take this opportunity to help those in need.

Those interested in arranging a time to drop-off or pick-up items, should contact Cliff Parkinson or Beth Parker at tribalcovid@learlaw.com. Visit: http://indianlaw.utahbar.org/covid-19-tribal-relief-fund.html for information on monetary donations or contact Heather Tanana at tananah@law.utah.edu.

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