WINDOW ROCK, AZ – Navajo Nation leaders gathered at the Veterans Memorial Park for a prayer service to honor and remember all of the lives lost to COVID-19 since the first case was confirmed on the Navajo Nation two years ago. The three branch chiefs also issued a proclamation recognizing Mar. 17, 2022 as “Navajo Nation Day of Prayer.”
“Today, we come together with all faiths, to join in prayer to honor and remember the lives lost to COVID-19 over the past two years and to ask for strength and comfort for all of the families,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. “We also pray for continued blessings for our communities, health care workers and frontline warriors, and our entire Nation as we continue to persevere through the pandemic. Through the strength and teachings of our ancestors and the guidance of our public health experts, we continue to see a decline in new cases and hospitalizations. We must continue to pray, take precautions, and get vaccinated as we move forward together.”
As of Mar. 16, there have been 52,754 COVID-19 cases reported and 1,657 lives lost on the Navajo Nation since the start of the pandemic. At this point, 75 percent of individuals, 12 years and older, have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We gather to offer corn pollen and protection prayers to bring comfort to the countless families affected by COVID-19,” said Speaker Seth Damon. “The last two years brought us together as one Navajo family to protect our elders, young people, and those most vulnerable. The vaccine saved millions of lives around the world and allowed the Navajo Nation to be a leader for Indian Country for vaccinations. Science prevailed again as face masks and other preventive measures proved to be the first step to ending this pandemic. We are grateful for our frontline workers, our nurses and doctors, police officers, and emergency medical personnel for risking what they have to battle this virus. May the Creator continue to bless all our families in and around our Four Sacred Mountains, and bring healing to Mother Earth.”
“Peace, healing, strength, and joy come in many ways to bear our burdens,” said Chief Justice JoAnn B. Jayne. “We are grateful for the hand of God for health, wisdom to make courageous decisions for our families through troubled times, yet forecasting an abundant life with opportunities, gratefulness, and finding joy in daily activities, knowing and thanking the sacrifices of many for our well-being. We pray for a prosperous life within the Four Sacred Mountains and beyond, knowing that our ancestors are forever present.”
Former Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim and Pastor Ron Harvey offered prayers during the morning service. Also in attendance for the prayer service were Miss Navajo Nation Niagara Rockbridge, Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director Roselyn Tso, and Division Directors.
In accordance with the proclamation, all flags on the Navajo Nation were flown at half-staff in honor and memory of the lives lost to COVID-19.