Shame Sometimes Works: How to make a corrupt government act

The Navajo and Hopi peoples in Arizona are amongst the worst hit by COVID-19.  The combination of institutional government racism and genocide, lack of running water, food deserts and lack of medical supplies have caused infection and death rates far in excess of their population.  Thirteen US states combined have fewer deaths than the Navajo population of 30,000. Cheetolini’s corrupt regime promised weeks ago to send US$8 billion dollars to help First Nations people.  They have not sent one thin dime.

Arizona coronavirus cases near 5,000; 184 known deaths now

PHOENIX (AP) — Positive coronavirus tests in Arizona now have reached nearly 5,000 with 184 known deaths, state health officials said April 19.

[. . .]

The Navajo Nation, which extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has been hit harder by the coronavirus than any other Native American tribe.

The tribe and the Navajo Area Indian Health Service said the number of positive coronavirus tests reached 1,197 as of April 18 with 44 known deaths.

Officials said the average age of those whose deaths were attributed to COVID-19 was 66.

As you may have heard, Irish citizens heard about the Navajo and Hopi people’s plight and began a go fund me page to “repay a debt” as they described it.  In the mid-19th century when the English tried to starve the Irish to death in an act of genocide, the Chocktaw people collected US$170 (US$5600 in 2020 dollars) to send to Ireland.  This was an act of kindness to strangers in a faraway country at a time when US First Nations people were suffering their own genocide and forced relocation.

The total that the Irish people have collected and sent to the Navajo and Hopi people now exceeds (at time of writing this) US$2.7 million, an astounding act of kindness and solidarity.  This story made my week, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve cried more than once reading about it.

More below the fold.

Donations flood in from Ireland to Navajo Nation in repayment of centuries-old bond

A relationship between Native Americans and Ireland that dates back nearly two centuries has been revived once again during a time of desperate need.

A GoFundMe page for Navajo and Hopi families devastated by coronavirus has raised over $2.6 million as of Wednesday, in no small part because of the hundreds of donations coming from names like O’Neill, Hanrahan, O’Leary and Munro.

“At Ireland’s time of need during the Great Hunger of the 1840s, Native American people donated to the famine relief effort even though they themselves were still living in hardship. Their generosity will never be forgotten,” Dermot Burke wrote on the GoFundMe page on May 3, along with a $30 donation to the Navajo and Hopi relief efforts.

“When Ireland was in need you understood what Solidarity really looked like,” read the following message from Alan Hopkins, along with $20.

But this isn’t the only story about the Cheetolini regime’s incompetence, corruption, racism and indecency.  The Navajo and Hopi people have only 20 care beds for their 30,000 people, and when they asked the government for test kits, they were sent body bags.  The message was clear: “We hope you die and clean up your own corpses.”

Native American Health Clinic Receives Body Bags Instead of Requested COVID-19 Testing Kits

According to [Seattle Indian Health Board chief research officer Abigail] Echo-Hawk, the delivery of the body bags—though a mistake by a King County’s Public Health Department distributor—was indicative of the treatment of Native Americans in Seattle and around the country as the communities grapple with Covid-19 and a government that appears disinterested in helping.

“The Navajo Nation is in a crisis with cases, and there are tribes and other Indian organizations across the country that are in similar crises and can use medical supplies and help instead of watching people die,” Echo-Hawk said. “This is a metaphor for what’s happening.”

Native American attorney Brett Chapman agreed, telling Common Dreams that the crisis is the result of years of inaction on the part of the government.

But now that both stories are in the corporate news media, it has become an embarrassment that even the most shameless fascist can’t abide.  Cheetolini’s cast of clowns have finally released US$4.8 billion to the various First Nations people – not as much as was originally promised, but enough to accomplish a great deal and save many lives.

Treasury to begin distributing virus relief money to tribes

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department said May 5 that it will begin doling out billions to help tribes respond and recover from the coronavirus more than a week after a congressional deadline and after being sued over who is eligible for the money.

The $2.2 trillion federal rescue package approved in late March set aside $8 billion for tribal governments. The money was supposed to be distributed by April 26, but the Treasury Department said it was grappling with how to do it.

Tribes sued the agency to keep the money from going to Alaska Native corporations, which own most Native lands in the state under a 1971 settlement but are not tribal governments. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., gave the tribes a victory last week by limiting the funding to the country’s 574 federally recognized tribes while he settles the question of eligibility.

The Treasury Department said it will withhold an undisclosed amount calculated for the corporations until the case is resolved.

Would the regime have distributed money without such embarrassment?  Likely not.  And they would have given the lion’s share to corrupt for-profit corporations, not the Nations’ leadership who can best decide how to spend it.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Would the regime have distributed money without such embarrassment?
    Of course not, at least until it had come up with a way te “divert” it to Republican supporters.