Still In Lockdown & With Curfews, Navajos Resist In-Person Schooling

BIA Runs Into Trouble Trying To Get Schools Open On Reservations As Parents & Tribal Members Resist 1904 Photo of School-Aged Navaj...

BIA Runs Into Trouble Trying To Get Schools Open On Reservations As Parents & Tribal Members Resist

1904 Photo of School-Aged Navajo Boy. (Wikipedia)
Native American parents on reservations all over the Lower 48 are standing up to stern Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) directives that they must send their children to in-school instruction this year. The BIA  oversees 187 schools in America, with 132 of them tribally controlled. Fifty-five of the schools are BIA-operated, according to an August 13th, 2020 story in Indian Country Today.

The Navajo Nation has 65 BIA-affiliated schools. The Navajo have suffered greatly during the coronavirus pandemic. The Nation covers parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. "Our dear children need to be protected," said Daniel Tso, who is chairman of Navajo Nation Health, Education & Human Services. The Navajo reservation doesn't feel safe yet. It is still in a state of emergency into August, and has been holding weekend lockdowns

The Oglala Sioux similarly have been battling the virus. They have had a "shelter in home ordinance" since March, and have closed their borders to nonresidents. According to Indian Country Today, Davidica Littlespottedhorse of the Pine Ridge Reservation said: "I don't know of anybody who wants to send their kid to in-person school." The Oglala Sioux tribe is countermanding BIA's directives, and has ordered all reservation schools to provide only remote classes.

Navajo Nation Website, August, 2020.

As of August 18th, there had been 9,486 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation, and 484 confirmed deaths. The Navajo Nation website showed a running banner saying that there was a daily curfew from 9 pm to 5 pm on the reservation to try to combat spread. The Nation's website also showed a notice that a 32-hour weekend lockdown would begin on Saturday August 22nd at 9 pm and run until Monday, August 24th at 5 am.

Around 174,000 people live on the Navajo Nation.

Indian Country has some of the highest death rates per capita in America.


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