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Marie is a Navajo elder who has lived on the Navajo Nation all her life. Traditions run deep in her family, and is a part of her daily life. She comes from a generation famed for their unparalleled knowledge of Navajo traditional wisdom and philosophy. Marie strives to share her knowledge with her family and community.

Providing for her children, grandchildren and livestock is important to Marie, as well as keeping her home clean and in tiptop shape. She believes eating healthy is very important to keep your immune system strong and help fight off any sickness, especially during this time- to help fight off and protect the body from COVID-19.

“Eat healthy and drink plenty of water daily, eat good food that helps your body. Stay away from starch foods and eat whole grains.”

Marie contracted COVID-19 back in May when the virus made its way onto the Navajo Nation. She had been in close contact of a family member (or an individual) who was infected with COVID-19, and the virus spread quickly among her and her immediate household. Which lead them all to have to isolate separately. She did all she could to care for everyone that who was sick, including herself.

“Started with my grandchild, and two days in between we all caught it.”

The worst symptoms of the virus lasted a week, including continuous headaches and a severe sore throat. The illness itself lasted a month and two weeks, and Marie continued to experience a lingering cough.

“It was like having pneumonia, the mucus that builds up and you’re trying to cough it up but it won’t come out.”

Daily prayer, partaking of the traditional healing medicine sage, gargling salt water, constantly drinking water and staying away from sweets, helped Marie’s family overcome the virus and return to health. Daily activity, no matter the amount also helped their body fight the virus.

“We continued our normal duties, walking after the sheep and looking out for the horses. Although it caused us to feel weak we continued to keep going.”

Challenges during this time were no small feat for Marie. While ill herself, she tried to maintain her household chores such as cooking, caring for the livestock, and tending to her family. Marie wished she had extra help, so she could have time to recuperate and take a break from her daily chores.

“It was a burnout for me, I was weak and tired all the time.”

Overcoming the devastating effects and illness of coronavirus has made Marie and her family more appreciative of life, and the importance of family.

Marie would like to share with the Navajo People, “Eat Healthy, wear your mask, and wash your hands. That is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and help others right now. Stay home, clean the surfaces you touch and wipe down everything you come in contact with.”

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