Nonprofit group helping lift up Navajo community members
Apr 29, 2022, 6:56 AM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 2:14 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — A nonprofit group created during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people living on the Navajo Nation is expanding its mission.
NavajoStrong is all about lifting people up. They’re backing one woman’s dream to help her Navajo people feel supported when they’re away from home.
Built on an army of volunteers willing to donate, deliver and distribute food, clothing and firewood to the Navajo Nation, NavajoStrong flourished during uncertain times.
Curtis Bud Frazier, founder and executive director of NavajoStrong, reflected on the past two years when they first took root.
“It’s really been personally a journey of finding out who I am, and really reconnecting with my culture,” he said.
Frazier is paying it forward by mentoring Mariah Plummer, who was awarded a grant from Olympic Gold medalist Billy Mills’ Dreamstarter program.
With NavajoStrong as her sponsor, she’ll use the grant to help Native youth learn about their Indigenous culture through education and sports. She calls the project Utah K’é.
“I was forced to go through racial disparities, social injustices, depression, homesickness. It was really hard,” said Plummer.
She grew up in the Navajo Nation in Tsaile, Arizona, and will graduate from Utah Valley University next week with a degree in public health. She wants young people to know they can create bonds away from home as she did.
“Just having that person who knew what it was like to be Indigenous, who knew the culture, knew the types of pressure that we feel both on and off the reservation, it was very uplifting to me.”
Plummer just returned from Virginia for training and will start her project in June.