A little known health advocacy group is campaigning to pass a 2-percent sales tax on all junk food sold on the reservation.
The group, the Dine Community Advocacy Alliance, is hoping that the tax would discourage Navajo people from buying foods that are linked to health issues. The people for years have struggled to contain high rates of obesity and diabetes, both linked to poor diet.
"My maternal uncle went blind. He had diabetes he died from it. My aunt had it she died from it. My mom had it," said Shirley Montoya, a community organizer for the group.
The group in recent months has been visiting chapter houses in an effort to gain their support. As expected, it has not been easy.
"Some of the community members are already saying, "We're taxed enough,' and "Our elders won't be able to afford it,' but our elders shouldn't be eating candy," Montoya said.
The group has not specified exactly what foods the tax would include, though they have thrown around the ideas of chips, candy, ice cream, pizza, and soda.