Helping Native Americans

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Evergreen resident seeking donations for Navajo reservation

By Sandy Barnes

Evergreen resident Mariah Roberts is collecting clothing and other goods for impoverished Native Americans in Arizona and South Dakota. 

She also is hoping that someone will donate a truck to transport the items — an expense she says that can be prohibitive.

Roberts is working through Native American Research and Preservation Inc., a nonprofit corporation that assists people living on reservations. The organization supplements government programs, and is involved in efforts to preserve historic Native American culture and historic sites.

Roberts said she is hoping to find a way to bring clothing for children and adults to the reservation before it starts snowing this fall. Among items she is seeking are warm winter outerwear, baby and children’s clothing, and sewing machines on which Native Americans make quilts they sell. 

People who would like to make contributions may reach Roberts by e-mail at  HYPERLINK "mailto:robertsmariah@gmail.com" robertsmariah@gmail.com.

While many people already have been generous in donating clothing food, bedding and other necessities, transporting them to the reservation in Canyon de Chelly, Ariz., is costly, said Roberts. The cost of one trip, including truck rental and gasoline, is about $800, she said.

Many people are not aware of the deprivation in which many Native Americans exist, and it is also very isolated, Roberts said.

Approximately 40 percent of Native Americans at the Navajo Indian Reservation spanning Arizona, New Mexico and Utah are living in poverty, according to a 2010 study of the Arizona Rural Policy Institute, which used 2010 U.S. Census information. 

Roberts recently has returned to Evergreen, where she formerly lived with her family. 

Now retired, Roberts is spending much of her time assisting Native Americans in need.

“I am hoping this message goes far beyond this community as we all strive to play our part to make this world a better place for all,” said Roberts.

Roberts said she became interested in the Native American culture as a youngster traveling with her family.

“We toured Mesa Verde, the Anasazi ruins and the pueblos of New Mexico on summer vacations,” she said.

As an adult, Roberts said she became acquainted with Bear Heart, a Native American elder from Albuquerque, who taught her the ways of his people and gave her insight into another way of life.

Then, while camping near Salida last fall, Roberts became acquainted with Becky Donlan, owner of Tribal Treasures, a nonprofit store that sells Native American crafts in the southwestern Colorado town.

“I devote myself to assisting this courageous woman who has taken on the task of aiding Native Americans,” said Roberts. “I am drawn to help the native people who have suffered so.”


Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.