String Quartet Ethel Supporting COVID-19 Relief Fund for the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation with Online Premiere of Documentary

Source: Go Fund Me.

Nationally acclaimed string quartet ETHEL continues its career-long collaboration with Native American communities via an online fundraiser to aid the Navajo and Hopi reservations. Starting Sunday, June 21, 2020, ETHEL will broadcast the online premiere of the documentary Strings on the Rez in an effort to raise awareness of the economic and health crises being suffered in the Navajo and Hopi Nations.

“In solidarity with our friends in Navajo Nation, where the pandemic has hit with a vengeance, ETHEL invites all of our followers and supporters to participate in the fundraiser-premiere of this documentary,” says Dorothy Lawson, co-founder and cellist of ETHEL. “ETHEL is releasing the film for the first time digitally to bring our fans’ generosity to bear on the grassroots Navajo-Hopi COVID-19 Relief Fund. They are providing effective, timely support under monstrous conditions.

COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on minority communities is evident in tribal nations. Navajo residents have been devastated as the virus has swept through a reservation that spans four states. As of June 12, 6,470 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 303 have died, a staggering toll in a population of 356,000 — and the highest per-capita infection rate in the U.S. (surpassing New York and New Jersey). According to the Department of Health, Native Americans account for 57% of COVID-19 cases despite being 11% of the population in the state of New Mexico. The pandemic is pushing the tribe’s public health system to its limits. Online fundraising campaigns, including ETHEL’s, are springing up around Indian country to address immediate needs.

As part of the Grand Canyon Music Festival’s Native American Composer’s Apprentice Project (NACAP), created to help young Navajo give voice to their music, ETHEL shared the power of musical experience with the underserved and rural communities of the Navajo and Hopi reservations for 10 years. Through that program, ETHEL reached almost 18,000 students, premiered over 150 works by Native American children, and touched more than 15 schools throughout Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The documentary film Strings on the Rez by Molly McBride captures ETHEL’s collaboration with high school students of the Navajo Nation. It was recorded from 2006-2008 in and around Tuba City, Arizona, and at the Grand Canyon. ETHEL and guitar-playing teenagers of the Navajo reservation meet in tradition and modernity, discover a new flow of communication, and share a heartfelt human exchange. The film was shown at the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the Black Bear Film Festival.