THE NATIVE American Navajo Nation tribes have reported no cases of coronavirus for the first time since March.
The Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation, based in New Mexico, experienced an outpouring of support from the Irish people after a GoFundMe was set up to assist the vulnerable nations, which are in "extreme food deserts" with a third of people not having access to running water and with high numbers of at-risk residents.
With the help of the Irish people, who donated to repay the 173-year-old favour when the Choctaw nation sent money to Ireland during the Great Hunger, almost $6 million was raised to bring food, water and essential PPE to help those in need.
Now, months later, the Navajo Nation has recorded its first day with no new cases since the pandemic began.
According to The Navajo Times, President Jonathan Nez said that while the milestone is undoubtedly a good one, "the reality is that our daily numbers will continue to fluctuate as long as there is no vaccine available".
“I am confident that we, the Navajo people, can minimise the impacts of the upcoming flu season by continuing to wear your masks, wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home as much as possible, and avoid large crowds,” President Nez concluded.
Sadly, a further four people were confirmed to have died from the virus, and the Navajo Nation will undergo a 32-hour lockdown this weekend to further slow the spread of the virus.
In May, the Attorney General for the Navajo Nation issued a heartfelt 'thank you' to the Irish people and people of Irish descent for their donating essential funds to Native American tribes affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in a video message, Doreen McPaul explained she is “especially proud of this response because of my own Irish heritage.”
“There are many similarities between our cultures, including our love of the land, our language, our songs, our dance, our sports, our people, and our history," she said.
"Many parts of Ireland are actually very similar to the Navajo reservation with the vast farmlands and the herds of sheep and cattle. Just as the Irish use sheep wool to make textiles, so do the Navajo.
“We also have a shared history of oppression. During the Irish Famine, when the Choctaw Nation sent money to the Irish despite their own struggle, that gesture has become a symbol of paying it forward, and the Irish are paying it forward to the Navajo Nation.
“My hope is that the Navajo Nation will be able to pay it forward in honour of Ireland someday.”