As a public intellectual, Farina King is committed to community outreach and service. She is a part of various communities, which diverge but also intersect with one another. Her purpose is to make a difference in the world through her work and relationships.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and outbreaks ravaged the world, the Navajo Nation, the family and people of Farina King, were some of the most susceptible populations in the country with only thirteen grocery stores on the reservation that serve about 180,000 people and only 1 in every 3 Navajos with access to clean running water. One of the most important directions to protect against the coronavirus is washing hands, but Navajos are in need of having just enough water to drink and sustain life. The Navajo Nation led in COVID-19 vaccinations. Learn more at the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Vaccine website.
Please support Navajo Nation in any way. Farina King has advocated and sought support, as her family and loved ones have been at great risk. Donate, for example, to the Official Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund, Navajo and Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund, Utah Tribal COVID-19 Relief, and Protect Native Elders and petition our leaders for more attention and support of our Indigenous peoples and families. Learn more at Navajo Hopi COVID-19 Response. Ahéhee’/Thank you!
Read Farina King’s Op-Ed, “Diné heroes facing monsters through generations,” in The Salt Lake Tribune (May 2, 2020), or listen to Farina’s interview, “Navajo Nation’s Pandemic Suffering Underscores Lingering Harms of Colonialism” (May 6, 2020), with Julie Rose on Top of Mind through BYU Radio. Please explore and learn more from #DinéDoctorHistorySyllabus. You can listen to King’s episode, “Diné Doctor Histories” (June 2021), on the podcast Intervals with the Organization of American Historians (OAH) as well.
The Bluff Area Mutual Aid and the Utah Rural Project have also offered support to Navajo Nation and Indigenous communities in southeastern Utah, and people can volunteer (via this link on google forms) and donate (via this link on GoFundMe).
Learn more by reading “A history of epidemics, In past, Navajos survived many epidemics”(written by Donovan Quintero, Navajo Times, April 19, 2020).
RETURN HOME INTERMOUNTAIN
With the support of various sponsors, especially the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, and a team of contributors and scholars, Drs. Farina King, Michael Taylor, and James Swensen launched a traveling public exhibit called “Returning Home,” which features the art, poetry, and oral histories of Diné alumni of the former Intermountain Indian School. The exhibit was showcased in the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock and the Cline Library of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. “Returning Home” was on display on the lower level of the Merrill-Cazier Library at Utah State University in Logan, Utah until March 25, 2022. The two large murals of the original exhibit, Sunset by artist T.H. Mike and Returning Home by artist T. Draper, were open to public viewing at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art (see artmuseum.usu.edu for directions and gallery hours). Learn more about the exhibit by reading this article: “USU Libraries Hosts Exhibit Celebrating Art & Poetry Created at Intermountain Indian School.” King continues to advocate for the preservation and education about the Intermountain Indian School students’ creative arts and stories.
Since Intermountain Indian School alumni requested a book based on the exhibit, Drs. Farina King, Mike Taylor, and James Swensen have co-authored Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Indian School (University of Arizona Press, November 2021). The authors have presented and shared this work with various communities. King supports the efforts of Intermountain intertribal alumni to gather such as the reunions held in Brigham City, Utah for Peach Days in September. In 2021, she helped to fundraise and spread the word with the “Indian Boarding School Alum Band Music to Heal,” which Intermountain alumni initiated to return to Brigham City, the site of the boarding school, for their gathering.
For 2022, King invited donations and support of Intermountain Indigenous community healing and gathering via https://bit.ly/Intermountain22.
WATER RIVER LIFE GIVER
King’s family and people faced the struggles of tó łitso (yellow water) in the aftermath of the Gold King Mine Toxic Waste Spill that contaminated the Animas River and San Juan River.
One of the first symposia that King organized was “Water River Life Giver” at Dartmouth College on April 29, 2016 that featured Navajo guest speakers on the waste water spill and local speakers in Vermont and New Hampshire on water issues. King also talked in a segment on the public radio broadcast (WRUV FM Burlington) of Moccasin Tracks about “Water River Life Giver and Navajo Water Issues” on May 31, 2016.
You can view and share the video recording of the Water River Life Giver Symposium at Dartmouth College through the following link: Water River Life-Giver Livestream.
For the symposium, we asked Dartmouth students what water means to them. Some students also took the #dirtywaterchallenge to drink faux-dirty water in an effort to bring awareness to the communities struggling with water contamination.
WHY STANDING ROCK MATTERS
In October 2016, King helped to organize a forum at Southern Methodist University with the Clements Center on “Why Standing Rock Matters.” See the forum on YouTube by clicking on the following link: Why Standing Rock Matters. The Dallas News covered the event in Oil Safety or Environmental Racism? Sicangu Lakota elder and leader Leonard Crow Dog dedicated the forum as recorded in this video (click on link): Why Standing Rock Matters.
INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES OF BEARS EARS
King has organized panels and forums relating to Diné perspectives and voices of the Bears Ears National Monument. You can watch the panel, “Navajo Voices on Bears Ears” (by clicking on the given link), which occurred at the University of Utah on October 11, 2017.
Listen to a BYU radio interview with some of the panelists from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies panel, “Bears Ears: Indigenous Perspectives from San Juan,” which took place on the Provo campus in April 2018:
Guests: Farina King, PhD, Assistant Professor of History, Northeastern State University; Nizhone Meza, JD, Attorney; Tommy Rock, PhD, Environmental Scientist and Founder of Rock Environmental Consulting; Aldean Ketchum, Musician, Flute Builder
“Mother Earth’s sacred nature is a common thread through the spiritual beliefs of Native American tribes across the country. We saw reverence for the land unite diverse indigenous communities at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and in the effort to preserve Bears Ears in Utah. We explore what it is that so deeply binds America’s original inhabitants to the land.”