First lady Jill Biden to visit Albuquerque, Navajo Nation capitol

First lady Jill Biden’s office announced on April 17 that she will visit the U.S. Southwest in the coming week, with stops planned in New Mexico’s most populous city and the Navajo Nation’s capitol in Arizona.

The announcement said Biden will travel to Albuquerque on Wednesday and visit Window Rock, Arizona, on Thursday and Friday.

"We are honored and excited to welcome @FLOTUS to the Navajo Nation!" Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez tweeted. "The Biden-Harris Administration has been a key partner in our response to COVID-19 which includes the #AmericanRescuePlan. We are looking forward to hosting her and her team."

For most of the pandemic, the Navajo Nation has been the hardest hit per capita place in America.

Nez says they plan to take her to a vaccination clinic on Friday and stress that they've now gone seven straight days without a COVID-19 death.

"We'll give her an overview of what's happening in Navajo Nation and maybe even a glimpse of what's happening in Indian country in terms of the lack of resources, but there is hope that there will be a lot more funding in next year's budget," he said.

Also, there will be a meeting of first ladies as Navajo first lady Phefelia Nez will sit down with Dr. Biden to discuss a wide range of issues.

"Hear our voices and hear our concerns on issues that are truly important to us," Phefelia Nez said. "This is just them putting that into implementation and coming out to us and meeting us face to face in person."

jill biden

(Gage Skidmore/White House Flickr)

The Navajo Nation has garnered new attention in the last few months as Deb Haaland was appointed interior secretary, the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary.

Nez also believes this trip from the first lady will lead to a future one with President Joe Biden.

"I believe it also shows this administration is serious about improving the quality of Indigenous peoples here in the United States of America," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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