How Navajo Nation students overcame the pandemic school year

Adina Hamb

Table of Contents A day in the lifeLost connectionsDisconnection times nine‘Pulling his hair’Packets and empty pocketsDriven to succeed Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi Thousands of children on the Navajo Nation live without internet access, computers or cell service. Help was in short supply across all of Indian Country. More than 4,000 Diné […]

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

  • Thousands of children on the Navajo Nation live without internet access, computers or cell service.
  • Help was in short supply across all of Indian Country.
  • More than 4,000 Diné children between the ages of 10 and 19 have tested positive for COVID-19.

This story was originally published by Searchlight New Mexico.

Snuggled between tumbleweeds and utility poles, with a view of Ute Mountain through the windshield, high school sophomore Evan Allen placed his school-issued laptop on the center armrest of his grandmother’s truck and switched on his mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Another school day was about to begin.

Every weekday, not long after the sun rested on the foothills of the Carrizo Mountains, Evan would rise from his foldout bed in his grandmother’s home in T’iis Názbąs, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation. At about 7:10 a.m., he’d grab his laptop, his school supplies and, if time allowed, some snacks, and make the 5.5-mile drive to the top of the hill above the local trading post, where a decent internet connection could be found.

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