January 28, 2023

When a massive coal mine closed in 2019, thousands of Hopi people lost access to free coal to heat their homes. Grassroots efforts to replace coal with firewood have sprung up and are winning funding.


When a giant coal mine in northern Arizona shut down three years ago, cities that relied on it for electricity pivoted. But it hasn’t been easy for residents of the Hopi Nation, who burned coal to heat their homes. From member station KNAU, Melissa Sevigny reports on people who are stepping up to help.

MELISSA SEVIGNY, BYLINE: When word came of a firewood giveaway in a nearby city, Matthew Honanie woke at 4 a.m. to make the two-hour drive from the Hopi Nation and get in line. He and his wife waited for hours, only to be turned away.

MATTHEW HONANIE: We’re on the drive home, being sad and all. She kind of came up with an idea of, why can’t we help our own people? And when my wife has an idea, I just got to make it happen for her.

SEVIGNY: That was the birth of Koho4Hopi, a grassroots nonprofit to supply firewood to Hopi people. It’s one of 60 organizations in a network called Wood for Life. The collaboration in five Western states brings wood from forest-thinning projects to communities in need.


SEVIGNY: In Kykotsmovi Village, on a treeless landscape rimmed with snow, volunteers with chainsaws cut and stack logs that will be sold at a steep discount or given away.

HONANIE: For myself and my wife, it’s not really working for that money. It’s more working for the smiles, the thank you’s, the askwali’s, the kwah’kwa’s.

SEVIGNY: Askwali is how women say thank you in Hopi; kwah’kwa is for men. Honanie says the pine trees being sliced into stove-sized pieces are huge, but the wood won’t last long.


HONANIE: It’s just one of those things where we kind of have to pick and choose who we’re going to give it to. It’s a hard thing to think about because a lot of the elders are the ones that are really suffering.

SEVIGNY: Elders like Patricia Selestewa, who lives on Hopi with her 13- and 14-year-old grandsons. Many homes in her village don’t have electricity, including her own.

PATRICIA SELESTEWA: Since I can’t burn coal, I have to buy wood. But, you know, with limited income…

SEVIGNY: Prices for a cord of wood more than doubled during the pandemic to $400 or $500. Most homes burn at least five cords a winter. Selestewa worries about running out.

SELESTEWA: Especially if we don’t have no trucks and no chainsaws or nobody else to – and my grandsons are too, you know, young. I don’t think they would be able to, you know, use a chainsaw.

SEVIGNY: There isn’t a single organized effort to transition away from coal on the Hopi Nation, which leaves nonprofits to fill in the gaps. The wood stove in Selestewa’s home was a gift from Red Feather Development Group, which has swapped out dozens of outdated coal stoves for EPA-certified wood stoves. Alfred Lomahquahu is the program coordinator.

ALFRED LOMAHQUAHU: One of the major problems in Hopi is the lack of employment.

SEVIGNY: …Which has grown worse since the coal mine closed and took with it hundreds of jobs.

LOMAHQUAHU: So a lot of the younger generation are moving off. That leaves a lot of the older generation to try to fend for themselves.

SEVIGNY: Some burn clothes or furniture. There’s a heightened risk of toxic indoor air quality and chimney fires. Lomahquahu says it’s hard for the tribal government to act on the crisis because it lost 80% of its revenue when the mine shut down.

LOMAHQUAHU: So now you see a lot more nonprofits stepping up.

SEVIGNY: Red Feather has hundreds of people on its wait list for a new wood stove or for an electric mini-split heater. Arizona Public Service, the state utility, will cover the cost of installing many splits in homes hooked up to the grid as part of a program to assist those hurt by the mine’s closure. Laurel Poleyestewa recently got one.

LAUREL POLEYESTEWA: I really, really like it. It’s just awesome.

SEVIGNY: Poleyestewa says she no longer has to hang plastic sheets and hole up in her bedroom to stay warm, but she still feels a bit hopeless.

POLEYESTEWA: For a while, you know, everyone was scrambling, and it just seems like now, nobody’s thinking about it.

SEVIGNY: Oh, sure.

POLEYESTEWA: And people are still trying to stay warm.

SEVIGNY: She says many have stepped up to help, but there are so few resources and so many people in need.

For NPR News, I’m Melissa Sevigny.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

pdf free stumble guys cheats for unlimited gems
how to get free tiktok coins in 2023 tecnoguias
hicmos it tiktok followers generator no verification storeion
free coins tik tok live tiktok search
gems for stumble guys apk download steprimo com
free tiktok coins generator 2023 colaboratory google colab
pdf free stumble guys gems generator update 2023 vi7q
list of tiktok free coins 2023 here 3d printable models yeggi
binance has reportedly rejected an offer to invest in troubled crypto
free tiktok coins app generator hacks 2023 without verification ios
gem generator for stumble guys 2023 mytruko md
how to buy tiktok coins in 2023 boosthill
codes stumble guys hack unlimited gems mod cheats generator
best times to post on tiktok for 2023 influencer marketing hub
free tiktok followers 2023 how to get 50000 youtube
tours gratuits coin master 2022 tous les liens des spins du jour
free stumble guys gems generator instant hack updated 2023
free tiktok coins app 2023 read the docs
free tiktok followers free tiktok fans how to get free flowcode
coin master free spin and coin link crazyashwin
pdf free stumble guys cheats for unlimited gems
pdf tiktok coins generator v 87 mapman
continue with tiktok followers generator 2023 free updated
coin master free spins 2023 free spins and coins link january
free stumble guys gems generator 2022 without human verification
pdf free tiktok fans generator free tiktok followers hack app ios
jbqvc sgg tiktok followers 2023 free booster4020 at main
coin master free spins coins daily links january 2023 levvvel
the best android emulator for pc gameloop official 2022
tiktok coins hack 2023 ios no verification photography pexels
continue with into tiktok followers generator 2023 free
coin master free spins and coins generator 2023
pdf stumble guys cheats free unlimited gems generator

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *