In the 1980's, Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program Founder Linda Myers met Grace Smith-Yellowhammer, who was helping the Traditional Navajo Elders on the reservation at Big Mountain. The Elder’s need for food was a great concern. To help meet the need, Linda started making trips to the Reservation to deliver needed food and clothing.
These deliveries evolved into the Adopt-A-Native-Elder’s bi-annual Food Runs. Our focus is still, and always will be, to travel to the Navajo Reservation twice a year to spend several weeks with all our Elders and to use our hands to distribute the assistance that they desperately need.
We have served thousands of Traditional Elders since the 1990s by giving as a gift of love… not a handout. Today, our efforts touch the lives of over 550 Elders.
The Program supports the traditional Elders who live in the cultural and spiritual traditions of The Dine' People. Most live in remote portions of the Dine' (Navajo) reservation. Many live in traditional hogans, and some raise sheep as a means of maintaining themselves.
The Elders in our program range from 75 to 100+ years of age. Director Linda Myer's commitment from the outset was to provide assistance for the Elder's basic survival as well as to honor and respect their traditional lifestyle.
These are among some of the principal values that differentiate A.N.E. from other humanitarian organizations. We wish to honor and respect the Elders as they are and have no agenda to try to change them in any way. These are resilient people. As long as their basic needs of food, heat and shelter are met, they will survive as they have for hundreds of years.
- Directly delivering over 5 million pounds of food
- Serving more than 560 Elders
- Honoring more than 5,000 supporters worldwide
Our Impact and Why It Matters
Adopt-A-Native-Elder serves to help reduce extreme poverty and hardship facing traditional Elders living on the Navajo Reservation. We are a trusted humanitarian organization focused on delivering food, medical supplies, firewood and other forms of Elder support. Respecting the tradition and dignity of Navajo Elders, we create relationships to honor and serve the Elders.
What we do for the Elders is based on the principal of the Native American Giveaway. We give our best and give it freely with no expectation of return. The Elders feel gratitude for these gifts, often expressing it through their shy smiles. Some give small gifts such as necklaces in return. Many are too poor to be able to make such a gift. Their gift is to touch our hands and our hearts and to offer their prayers. That is enough.
Support for Weavers
We also assist traditional Elders by facilitating the Rug Show as a market for their weavings. Selling their rugs is often the weaver’s sole means of livelihood. We also provide wool yarn so the Elders can continue weaving their rugs.