Loving Native America: July 2023 Update

Thank you to all who have donated towards this next trip so far! There is a little over a week left for our third annual school supply drive for Rocky Ridge Boarding School, the local residential school on the Hard Rock Chapter. Our goal this year is to collect 91 backpacks, which would be enough to supply a backpack for every student at Rocky Ridge. Last year, we were able to collect 60 backpacks. So far this year, we have collected 51 backpacks, so we need 40 more!

Other requested items include laundry supplies for the school because of a budget shortfall this year, as well as bottled water and to-go containers for the Senior Center. We are still in need of all items listed below! Our trip is planned for July 18, so donations should be dropped off by Sunday, July 16!

School supplies needed:
lined paper
pencils with erasers
pencil sharpeners
markers/crayons/coloring pencils
glue sticks or bottles
Other classroom supplies: disinfecting wipes, kleenex, copy paper, dry erase markers, hand sanitizer, construction paper

Other needed items:
Liquid laundry detergent
Fabric softener
Dryer sheets
Girls body wash
Opaque shower curtains
Bottled water

Keep an eye out on our social media outlets! We will be providing weekly updates on how close we are to meeting our goals. Feel free to like and share our posts to spread the word!

There is a large wooden donation bin labeled “Helping Hard Rock School Supply Drive” in the lobby to drop off all your items! Drop off during office hours (M-Th 10am-4pm) or during Sunday morning services.


Water is essential to life and a crucial resource on the reservations. Because of that, things like water rights are an ongoing battle in litigation. This issue is not just about the resource of water, but about tribal sovereignty (the right to govern one’s community, the ability to preserve one’s culture, and the right to control one’s own economy). (Federal Bar Association, “Understanding Tribal Sovereignty”) One of those cases that has recently been in the Supreme Court has been the case: Arizona v. Navajo Nation. You can read more about the case and ruling HERE.

“Water is necessary for all life, and when our ancestors negotiated agreements with the United States to secure our lands and our protection, water was understood and still is understood to be inseparable from the land and from our peoples. Today, the Supreme Court has once again assisted in the United States’ centuries-long attempts to try to get out of the promises they have made to Tribal Nations by stating that treaties only secure access to water, but do not require the United States to take any steps to protect or provide that water to our people,” - National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp.
But you, my sacred family members, have been called to walk in freedom. Do not use this freedom to walk in weak and broken human ways. Instead, walk in love and serve each other. For all of our tribal law finds its full meaning and purpose in one instruction. “Love your fellow human beings in the same way you love yourself. If you keep on acting like wild animals, biting and snapping at each other, watch out! You may end up wiping each other out!

Galatians 5:13-15
First Nations Version
For more information on past conversation nights and blog posts, or to make a monetary donation toward our partnerships in the Navajo Nation or the White Mountain Apache Reservation, check out our page: https://vineyardgilbert.com/nativeamerica.