Navajo Nation president delivers keynote at National Tribal Health Conference
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President Jonathan Nez of the Navajo Nation delivers the keynote address at the National Tribal Health Conference on October 14, 2020.

The conference, hosted by the National Indian Health Board, is being held virtually due to COVID-19. Nearly 900 tribal leaders, health professionals, advocates and federal and Congressional partners attended the opening day of events.

“We are proud to partner with NIHB and come together to help resolve the health disparities, policies and other issues that will ultimately help to advance healthcare for tribal nations, including this modern-day monster known as COVID-19," said President Nez.

"With over 10,000 positive COVID-19 cases, the Navajo Nation has been hard hit by the pandemic, but thanks to strong public health efforts from the tribe, including 24 public health emergency orders, the recovery rate on the reservation has increased," Nez said. "Let us remind ourselves to use our way of life teachings, our culture, tradition and language to fight these monsters. Our ancestors fought hard for us to be here today -- it is now our turn as tribal leaders, citizens to fight for what is right for the future of our people."

“This pandemic has hit us hard in Indian Country, but here is an opportunity to challenge our lawmakers, and those running for the presidency, to fulfill those promises that were made by our and their ancestors, for better infrastructure, resources for education and healthcare," Nez said.