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Homegrown Help For Shiprock Farmers And Ranchers

Elizabeth McKenzie
Water donations loaded into the back of a truck destined for Shiprock.

Irrigation water still isn’t flowing from the San Juan River to some farms on the Navajo Nation. Two chapters voted to keep ditches shut off after the Gold King Mine spill last month. But Navajo folks around the state are reaching out to help farmers and ranchers there. 

Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Weedrat plays a show in Albuquerque to benefit folks in Shiprock.

Rebecca Jones is the lead singer of the band Weedrat. All of the members are Navajo. They played a benefit show last weekend at a club in Albuquerque, and proceeds went directly to people in Shiprock affected by the Animas River disaster.

Then there’s Elizabeth McKenzie who personally drove a U-Haul with 1,800 gallons of donated water to Shiprock. She loaded the truck herself, too.

"There were points where I would take a break and just like look inside and just be overcome with like so much emotion at how many people had donated," she said.

Credit Elizabeth McKenzie
Donated water in the Shiprock Chapter House

Farmers and ranchers out there are also improvising homemade drip irrigation and sprinkler systems. Financial donations go to transporting water to more than 100 farms. The Bureau of Indian Affairs stopped filling a tank on the Shiprock Fair Grounds last weekend, so it’s on the chapter now to figure out how to keep it full. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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