Navajo Nation Council thanks medical, frontline workers for pandemic response
"From the very first time COVID came onto our Navajo lands back in March of 2020, you have helped protect the way forward for the Navajo people," Speaker Seth Damon said at the signing event for the resolution the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee passed on March 10.
The resolution expresses gratitude and appreciation on behalf of the Navajo people to medical providers from the Navajo Area Indian Health Service and to frontline and essential workers for their valor, commitment and ongoing services to the tribe.
"You helped save our folks, our lives and our dignity for the next seven generations and I say thank you from the bottom of our hearts here at the Navajo Nation Council," Damon said in remarks delivered inside the council chamber in Window Rock, Arizona.
Navajo Area IHS Director Roselyn Tso explained there are more than 4,000 employees and about 1,500 contractors under the regional agency.
"It has been a challenge over the last two years, without doubt, but I've also seen the 4,000 staff members step up many, many times. I've seen how the virus forced us to try different avenues, try different ways to do what we needed to do," Tso said.
However, she said, there remains more work to do as employees balance continued response to the pandemic and resume regular health services.
During the last two years, Tso gave updates to the council's committees about the challenges faced by healthcare workers, Damon said.
"She was worried that IHS might collapse just from the overload through this pandemic. You could see the heartbreak of what she had to go through," he said.
Delegate Paul Begay patted Tso's shoulder after she was shown the signed document by Damon.
"We have very qualified people that was leading to make sure that we address this pandemic in the best way possible," Begay said.
Several delegates stood with Navajo Area IHS personnel during the presentation, which was livestreamed on the council's Facebook page.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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