Bottle designed by Navajo finances water projects by reservation

Navajo artist Jaden Redhair, 21, designed a Nalgene water bottle. (Courtesy of Nalgene)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A reusable Nalgene water bottle designed by a 21-year-old Navajo student raised more than $ 14,000 for drinking water projects on the reserve.

Jaden Redhair, a Stanford University senior from the Navajo capital, Window Rock, Arizona, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the popularity of the bottle.

The container features illustrations of Monument Valley, the outline of the Navajo Nation and the phrase “Tó éí iiná” or “water is life”.

This bottle designed by 20-year-old Navajo artist Jaden Redhair supports Navajo Nation water access projects (Courtesy of Nalgene)

“Water is very sacred and also very important in the community and important to our way of life,” said Redhair. “I was trying to incorporate the Navajo language to make it more connected to us, and not just as a feast for the eyes.”

The bottle was launched at the end of 2020 and funded work to provide clean water to reservation homes.

About 30% of Navajo residents do not have running water, according to the US Water Alliance.

Nalgene sales contributed $ 14,500 to DigDeep for vehicle costs and driver certification. DigDeep installs water supply systems in Navajo homes and transports water to remote reservation areas.

Nalgene also donated $ 30,000 to Community awareness and patient empowerment install six water filling stations.

Carmen George, COPE’s research director, said the group is considering Teec Nos Pos in northeast Arizona as the station’s first site.

“We know we need to be very thoughtful about this, as the Navajo Nation Government has (recently) installed several water stations, and we want the community input so that we can complete the work and not recreate it.” , said George.

The donation included 90 large containers for transporting water from the access points.

Redhair first worked with COPE as a high school student, designing posters encouraging Navajo residents to drink water.

George said the public health campaign has helped show that many Navajo “turn to sugary drinks” because they don’t trust their water supply.

The group is embarking on a citizen science water analysis program to help allay these concerns.

Navajo students loved the posters featuring former Miss Navajo Nation winners and local marathon runners, said George, and they continue to challenge their families to drink more water.

Since the launch of bottle sales, Redhair has received social media posts from people across the country sharing their enthusiasm to contribute to water projects.

“It’s cool to talk to these people and educate them on the Navajo Nation, and to see so many people really excited to help my people,” Redhair said.

Elissa McGee, Managing Director of Nalgene Outdoor, helped establish the Nalgene Water Fund.

The initiative supports a community-run water testing lab in Flint, Mich., As well as the Navajo projects.

“The design and the mission seem to strike a chord with people,” McGee said. “Water is such a fundamental human right. “

Redhair’s design recorded Nalgene’s highest launch day bottle sales, McGee said, and continues to be one of the company’s best-selling products.

The “Water is life” bottle is available on the Nalgene website for $ 15, and $ 5 from each sale goes to Navajo Water Projects.

Theresa Davis is a member of the Report for America body covering Water and the Environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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