Nourish Our Nations Arizona COVID-19 Relief

Hi hi!

My name is Cher Thomas and I am a member of the Gila River Indian Community. I reside in District 6 - Komatke near Laveen, Arizona. After coming to terms with the severity of the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus, I decided that I wanted to feed The Indigenous Nations of Arizona. So I asked my friends to help. One by one, from all different parts of my life, everyone came together and united.

There's a lot of us and we hope to keep getting more and more partners in this goal of Nourishing Our Nations Arizona.

They include: Arizona Stands, Arizona Faith Network, Sacred Ground - Mesa, Operation Big Serve, Tribal Nations for Arizonans, Rainmaker Media Group, LLC and Puente Human Rights Movement

I also worked with my close friends, @Lance & Krystal Tsosie! Lance is a logistics expert who helps to sort out the logistics of huge music festivals; and Krystal is a Geneticist at Vanderbilt University, she has a LOT of science lab experience. She helped me to devise our sanitation methods.

TOGETHER, we are SO excited to
*Nourish the urban populations of Arizona. 
*Nourish the reservation population of Arizona 
*Present this high-efficiency method of distributing food to hundreds whilst NOT breaking quarantine and social distancing recommendations  put forth by the CDC.
*Publish our methods, once the method is perfected, so other organizers can create mass-quantity/high efficiency food distribution systems in their communities
*Support local small/micro businesses in times of peril 
* Bring awareness to the food insecurity issues within Native American reservations and urban centers. 
*Do something about the food deserts found in tribal villages and towns. 

I need financial help. 

Currently, our food storage is at capacity.  Especially for cold foods, the freezers at Operation Big Serve are FULL. We actually had to turn food down for our pilot test run in Mesa because we can't keep it cold. The only thing that is preventing us from serving thousands instead of hundreds is a lack of refrigeration. 

I would like to purchase a commercial grade portable refrigerator and freezer for our purposes. That is the 1st priority for this money, any other additional funds shall be used on overhead and purchasing items necessary for this great endeavor: plastic bins, disinfectant, handwashing stations, etc. 

*     *     *     *      *      *
Thank you again to everyone of my partners; it sounds weird to call y’all that, you’re all my very good friends. I’m so grateful to you all for presenting yourselves in the perfect moments; I suppose that’s how the Great Creator works. We didn’t know it, but are here to bring forth, not socialism; but TRIBALISM. This is how tribes survive.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to honor the highest tradition of my People, the Keli Akimel O’odham and Pee-Posh of the Gila River Indian Community. This tradition dates back to the very beginning of our tribal government’s formation: “to come together and to unite”; in the old ways of the O’odham tradition, which happens to be the war cry of our sister tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and that is: 'Vu’usich twa:wim!'; which means, "ALL of us; together!"

 Mana Sape!

Cher Thomas,
Founder, Nourish Our Nations Arizona

Cher Thomas - Keli Akimel O'odham/Cocopah from the west side the Gila River Indian Community 

Daughter of the Late Bentley Thomas(badt) of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and birthed by Juanita (Williams)Lopez of the Gila River Indian Community, and raised by Karen Thomas of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Sister to Reylynne Williams. Paternal grandparents: Frank Thomas of the Cocopah Tribe & the late Eugenie Pesis-Thomas (badt) of the Gila River Indian Community (Akimel O’odham), Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (Xlychidom Piipaash) & the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Maternal-Grandparents: the late Harry Williams, Sr. (badt) of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, the Fort McDowell Yavapai-Nation and the Navajo Nation and the late Uretta Thomas-Williams (badt) of the Gila River Indian Community (Akimel O’odham). Grand Aunts/surrogate grandmothers: The late Ilona Mack (badt) of the Cocopah Tribe, Cindy Giff of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the late Mary Callaway(badt) of the Mexican-Americans and the Late Adella Oskerson (badt) of the European-Americans. Grand Uncles/surrogate grandfathers: Ronnie Mack of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (Xlychidom Piipaash), Urban Giff of the Gila River Indian Community (Akimel O’odham), and the late William “Bummy” aka Bill Calloway, Sr. of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians. 

Everything I am, is everything those mentioned above made of me.
But if you INSIST upon knowing more about me: 

My biography:

Cher Thomas is Akimel O'odham and Cocooah from the Gila River Indian Community. Cher is an artist and activist. She owns and operates, Cher Thomas Designs, a company that creates custom traditional and contemporary clothing that honors Native American culture. Cher Thomas Designs' clothing has been featured in Native Peoples Magazine and Melbourne Fashion Week in Australia. Cher works with various non-profit organizations, such as Arizona Stands, which advocates the preservation of indigenous lands in Arizona. Arizona Stands creates a platform for Native Peoples to share an Indigenous perspective on climate change and environmental issues in the state of Arizona. Cher is also a member of the Arizona Faith Network's Cherishing Creation Collaboration; this a coalition dedicated to uniting people of all faiths to take action to care for the Earth. Cher has recently become a part of the Arizona Faith Network's land acknowledgment efforts, Cher attends events in the Phoenix valley to offer indigenous invocations to honor the ancestral homelands of local tribes. An artist, an activist and a culture cultivator, Cher Thomas is a dedicated member of the Indigenous community of Arizona.


Cher Thomas
Laveen, AZ

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