Artisans are using their talents to help GRIC ‘Mask Up!’ during pandemic

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


In the midst of a pandemic, face coverings are the new normal in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Artisans in the Gila River Indian Community are doing their part to make sure everyone can “Mask Up!” as the slogan says. Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis’ Executive Order No. 8 is still in effect which mandates the use of face coverings in the Community. Local arts and crafts enthusiasts are using their skills to offer an alternative for conventional face coverings and masks for GRIC members.


“In this Community, we are seeing some of our more creative Community members taking it upon themselves to make masks,” said Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis. He added, besides being one of the effective ways to protect against the spread of COVID-19, it is good to know there are Community members making masks for others.


Across the Community, individuals are creating face masks with an endless variety of designs from floral, traditional and even with sports logos. Gila River Health Care campaigns are also calling on youth to submit designs for face mask promotions on health awareness.


These types of campaigns address serious health disparities while incorporating artwork and messages on face masks. Others like GRIC member, Sunshine Pablo, is using her talents to help those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Pablo, from District 3, discussed why she started making face masks. “The whole idea of wanting to learn how to make face masks were to provide for the Elderly Complex of District 3,” she said.


All of her masks are made from 100 percent cotton fabric with patterns of her choosing or by request. “Keep in mind I am nowhere [near] being a professional seamstress, however I do enjoy helping where I can. At this time, I do not sell my face mask, this is my way of helping my family and the Community to stay safe for our well-being,” said Pablo.