First Lady Jill Biden
with Navajo Nation President and Mrs. Nez
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. First Lady Jill Biden on Friday spent
her last day of a two-day visit to the Navajo Nation visiting with
students, educators, parents and frontline health care workers.
On Friday morning, Biden joined Navajo Nation President Jonathan
Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez for a visit to Hunters Point Boarding
School where they met with Navajo students, parents, and educators
to discuss their personal challenges and success stories during
the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Biden was joined by President Nez and First Lady Nez as she
spoke with Chinle High School senior Namioka Rain Honie, Kin Dah
Lichi'i Olta sixth grader Rakal Nez, Navajo Preparatory School senior
Cade Allison and ninth grader Aurelius Yazzie, and Wingate High
School senior Jewels Leslie regarding the challenges they faced
during the pandemic.
The students told the first lady about the challenges of adjusting
to virtual learning when schools stopped in-person instruction at
the start of the pandemic, which included very limited broadband
access and the emotional toll of having to suddenly isolate from
friends and relatives.
"The conversation that Dr. Biden had with our young students was
very heartfelt and she certainly offered her compassion for them.
Having that one-on-one dialogue with each student, parent, and teacher
was very uplifting and I think it also provides the students with
some relief to talk about the challenges they are dealing with in
the midst of this pandemic," President Nez said.
"As a teacher and a parent, First Lady Biden understands the difficulties
that many of our young people are striving to overcome in order
to achieve more in life. I was very proud of all of the students
for sharing their stories and representing all of our youth very
well," Nez continued.
First Lady Jill Biden
leaving a "thank you" on sign to the school. - Courtesy
Following the visit to Hunters Point Boarding School, the group
traveled to Tséhootsooí Medical Center in Fort Defiance,
Ariz. where they met with Dr. Sandi Adkins, who is the CEO of the
health care facility, and several frontline health care workers.
They were joined by Health, Education, and Human Services Committee
chair Daniel Tso, Navajo Department of Health Executive Director
Dr. Jill Jim, and Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director Roselyn
President Nez highlighted the hard work and commitment of all health
care workers across the Navajo Nation that led the way in the Navajo
Nation's approach in mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 since the
start of the pandemic last year.
"It's because of our frontline warriors that the Navajo Nation
is now a model for mitigating and pushing back on COVID-19 in an
effective way that has saved many lives. Well over half of the adult
population on the Navajo Nation have been fully vaccinated. By having
the First Lady of the United States here at one of our health care
facilities demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment
to the Navajo Nation and all of our health care workers," Nez said.
This marked the third visit to the Navajo Nation by Dr. Biden in
recent years, and her first official visit as the First Lady of
the United States. President Nez thanked First Lady Biden and added
that he is optimistic that her visit lays the groundwork for President
Biden to visit the Navajo Nation.
After leaving the Navajo Nation, Biden's motorcade made its way
back to Albuquerque where she boarded her flight back to the nation's