Food as Medicine on the Navajo Nation
June 5, 2020
In March, when COVID-19 closed down the schools in Kayenta, Arizona-just 25 miles from Chilchinbito, home to the first known case on the Navajo Nation-the school district enlisted its bus drivers to get meals out to its 2,000 students.
"After spring break, they delivered food for three days," said Lemual Adson, the superintendent of Kayenta Unified Schools, in a recent phone call. "They went out Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then on Thursday, the Indian Health Service called me and ordered us to stop." The risk of contagion was just too great.
At around the same time, the community adopted a stay-at-home order and a curfew. Soon, several employees across the district began to get sick with COVID-19 and, within weeks, two of the bus drivers who had delivered the meals had passed away.