The Relief Fund was established on March 15, 2020 when Ethel Branch, the former Navajo Nation Attorney General, started a GoFundMe Campaign to raise money to assist a few Navajo and Hopi families with purchasing two-weeks’ worth of food so they could go into self-quarantine and be protected from the initial onslaught of COVID-19 cases in the area.
The GoFundMe Campaign raised $5000 by the end of the day, and Ethel reached out to 8 amazing Navajo women leaders to ask for their assistance in spreading this aid broadly across the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. The Relief Fund soon had a Leadership Team of 12 amazing Navajo and Hopi women leaders and one honorary member and key partner, Klee Benally of Kinlani/Flagstaff Mutual Aid. The Team raised over $5 million on GoFundMe and formed Yee Ha’oolniidoo to manage the funds and conduct relief work.
As of September 21, 2020 the team and a legion of Navajo and Hopi volunteers all over the two nations has provided food and water to roughly 30,000 households (roughly averaging 4 persons per household) in over 80 Chapters on Navajo and in 9 of the 12 Hopi Villages. The team is also handing out masks and hand sanitizer with their Kinship Care Packages.
Video courtesy of Karney Hatch