Native Reservations Struggle With Power Shortages In Pandemic

“Within hours of posting a video to Facebook and Twitter in which she offered to donate iPads to K-12 Native students, Amanda Cheromiah was inundated with increasingly desperate requests.

This was back in March, as schools across the country started closing because of Covid-19. Cheromiah, a PhD student at the University of Arizona, had begun hearing stories of Native students parking outside gas stations to finish their homework or reading for class. It was there they could maybe get better cell reception, or wifi, or enough light when the power was out at home.

Unequal access to utilities – especially electricity – made remote learning nearly impossible on Native lands. Cheromiah, who leads a mentorship program for Native students, said that for many students it was “just not an option”. She mailed about a dozen iPads to students before realizing their need for more resources was too great.”

Joseph Lee reports for the Guardian August 12, 2020.