Harvard Alumni on the Front Lines in Native American Communities. Race and the Pandemic, Part 2

June 7, 2020 at 4:00pm-5:15pm (ET)


The first Race and the Pandemic webinar on April 19th sparked such a rich discussion that many of you asked for another session. The Navajo Nation has now surpassed New York State for the highest Covid-19 infection rate in the country, so our next panel has been put together by the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard and Native American Alumni of Harvard University, and we are a co-sponsor.


  • Ethel Billie Branch AB '01, JD '08, MPP '08 and Bijiibaa' Garrison HMS '12 on how they are fighting the pandemic in their Native American communities
  • Prof. Joseph Gone AB ’92 (Director of the Harvard University Native American Program) on Native American and Indigenous Studies, COVID-19, and imagined futures for American Indians at Harvard and beyond
  • A reading by Inupiaq poet and Radcliffe Fellow Joan Naviyuk Kane AB '00
  • How you can help


Register by June 6 here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the meeting. Please note that this webinar is only for members of sponsoring organizations.


Ethel Billie Branch AB '01, JD '08, MPP '08 is the former attorney general of the Navajo Nation and a Harvard Alumni Association Elected Director. Currently a Member at Kanji & Katzen, a law firm that advocates on behalf of Native Nations, she serves as General Counsel to the Havasupai Tribe. She recently established the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund to help communities gravely threatened by the pandemic and has raised over $4 million.

Bijiibaa' Garrison HMS '12 is a general surgeon focused on caring for Alaska Native and American Indian patients. She practiced at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage and is transitioning to practice as a general surgeon for her home community on the Navajo Nation. She comes from a family of traditional healers and recognizes the value of blending Western and traditional medicine. She collaborated with Protect the Sacred, a grassroots initiative created by Navajo organizers "to protect what’s sacred to our people - our elders, language, medicine ways, & culture," to launch a medical humanitarian mission to help combat COVID-19 in Navajo Nation. She is also volunteering with COVID-19 medical relief in Shiprock, NM.

Joseph P. Gone AB '92 (Aaniiih-Gros Ventre) is Faculty Director of the Harvard University Native American Program and Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Anthropology) and in the Faculty of Medicine (Global Health and Social Medicine) at Harvard. As an interdisciplinary social scientist with both theoretical and applied interests, Professor Gone has collaborated for 25 years with American Indian and other Indigenous communities to rethink community-based mental health services and to harness traditional culture and spirituality for advancing indigenous well-being (see http://gonetowar.com/).

Joan Naviyuk Kane AB '00, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study '20, is an Inupiaq writer who grew up in Anchorage with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She has authored seven books and chapbooks of poetry and prose, most recently Another Bright Departure. She currently teaches in the Department of Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University and in the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts.