Navajo Community Activist Valentina Blackhorse Dies of COVID-19 at 28

She leaves behind a one-year-old daughter

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Photo: Twitter/@captmarkkelly

As of today, almost 70,000 people have died from the coronavirus. Each one of those deaths matters, and we must acknowledge each one. Today we remember the life of 28-year-old Valentina Blackhorse, a community leader in Arizona and pageant winner in her Navajo Nation tribe. Blackhorse was also the mother of a one-year-old little girl. 

Blackhorse died on April 23, just one day after she was diagnosed with COVID-19. Blackhorse contracted the virus from her partner, Robby Jones, a detention officer with the Navajo Department of Corrections, the New York Times reports. Blackhorse had been taking care of him during his bout with the coronavirus and subsequently infected her. 

“She cared for him until she got sick herself,” her sister Vanielle told the Times. “She was always that way, looking after others.”

AZCentral reports that Blackhorse had been crowned Miss Western Navajo in 2015-2016. She also worked at the Navajo Nation’s Dennehotso Chapter. Her family has launched a Gofundme account. 

“On April 23, we lost our daughter Valentina Blackhorse to the COVID-19 virus, she was a mother, sister, granddaughter, and friend to many. She had a great passion for competing in Pageants and was well known in that circle, she had an immense love for sharing her Navajo culture. She is survived by her parents Danny and Laverne Blackhorse, her 1-year-old daughter Poet, her sisters Victoria and Vanielle Blackhorse, and her boyfriend Robby Jones. Donations will go to travel expenses for funeral arrangements, cost of funeral expenses, and any extra funds will go to her daughter Poet. We thank you for your contribution in our time of need, thank you for your continued love and support as we grieve.”

Her sister said Blackhorse had big aspirations, including getting involved in politics. She wanted to become “a delegate to the Navajo Nation Council or even president of the Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribal nations in the United States.” Her sister says that her biggest dream came true when she became a mother. 

“But she accomplished her big dream by becoming a mother,” her sister said. “She loved being a mom to her daughter. It came naturally to her.”

In Navajo County, they have 777 coronavirus cases and 22 deaths. The state o Arizona has 8,640 coronavirus cases and 362 deaths as of today. At the detention center where Jones works, there are 11 known COVID-19 cases. 

Thank you, Valentina, for your contributions to your community and to the world. You will never be forgotten.

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