- By Native News Online Staff
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — First Lady Jill Biden kicked off a three day visit to the Southwest on Wednesday. She was greeted at the Albuquerque International Sunport’s tarmac by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, and three tribal council governors of the three Pueblos located closest to Albuquerque, N.M.
The Pueblo leaders who greeted the First Lady were Pueblo of Sandia Gov. Stuart Paisano, Pueblo of Isleta Gov. Vernon Abeita, and Pueblo of San Felipe Governor Anthony Ortiz.
WATCH First Lady Biden speak to the Navajo Nation on Facebook on Thursday at 6 p.m. - MDT.
Also, greeting Biden was New Mexico state Rep. Teresa Leger Fernanez, who is chair of the Committee on Indigenous People.
Later Wednesday, Biden visited the First Choice Community Healthcare, South Valley Medical Center, where Covid-19 were administered.
"So why did you decide to come? You felt a duty? Did you have any hesitation?" Biden asked a woman who was about to get her vaccine shot.
"I did. I was hesitant a little bit," the woman said. "I mean, I didn't know what was going in my body. And I'm doing them for the community, my family..."
"Right, that's what we want for you," said Biden.
The woman continued, "... and for myself. Let's get those numbers going down guy. No more lives to lose."
On Thursday, she will travel to the Navajo Nation where she will meet with Navajo President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez in Window Rock, Ariz, then meet with Navajo women leaders. Later on Thursday, Biden will deliver a radio address to Navajo citizens.
“We are honored and excited to welcome First Lady Biden to the Navajo Nation as we continue to build a strong partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration. This visit will help to highlight the success that the Navajo Nation is having with the COVID-19 vaccinations and the steady decline in COVID-19 infections. We are also working with First Lady Biden’s Office to have a discussion with our lawmakers from the Council and to hold a roundtable discussion with Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez, Second Lady Dottie Lizer, and several Diné women leaders, educators, business owners, and advocates. We understand that there is great interest from the public to be a part of the visit. Due to COVID-19 risks, we are advised to limit in-person attendance, but the public is welcome to view several of the events on our Facebook page,” Nez said.
The live-stream will begin at approximately 6:00 p.m. (MDT) on Thursday and 10:00 a.m. (MDT) on Friday. There will be heavy law enforcement and security presence in the Window Rock, Ariz. region during the visit. Roads in and around the Window Rock governmental offices will be temporarily closed to the public during the visit. The general public is advised to use caution and to watch the events online on the Navajo Nation's Facebook page.
On Friday, the First Lady, who has a doctorate in education, will meet with Navajo students and later tour a Covid-19 vaccination site on the Navajo Nation, which has been the Covid-19 pandemic epicenter of Indian Country.
After touring the Navajo Nation, she will return to Washington, D.C.
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