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Aliyah Chavez
Indian Country Today

Popular water bottle maker Nalgene is pledging to help the Navajo Nation battle its water crisis by donating part of its sales to citizens who lack access to running water.

The exclusive bottle Tó éí iiná, meaning “Water is Life,” was released Friday. The bottle sold out over the weekend and was restocked Monday, a Nalgene spokesperson said.

The bottle retails for $15 on the company’s website, and $5 from every bottle sold will benefit the Navajo Nation. Nalgene also donated nearly $30,000 in funds and supplies to the nation in August.

The 32-ounce bottle features Monument Valley and includes brown, red and blue color accents. It was created by Diné designer Jaden Redhair, 20, who is from Window Rock, Arizona.

“The design symbolizes the sacred role water plays in the Diné people’s lives,” Redhair said. “I hope it draws attention to my people’s plight. Right now, one in three Navajo Nation households struggle daily because they do not have access to running water.”

Redhair is an undergraduate student at Stanford University studying electrical engineering and design. He is the eldest of seven children and hopes to be a role model for his younger siblings.

Jaden Redhair, 20, designed the exclusive Tó éí iiná water bottle in collaboration with Nalgene. (Photo courtesy of Nalgene)

In August 2019, the company created the Nalgene Water Fund to raise funds and awareness about communities in the United States struggling to access clean water. In addition to helping the Navajo Nation, the company also assists residents in Flint, Michigan.

The Nalgene Water Fund is working with a Native-led organization headquartered in Gallup, New Mexico, called the Community Outreach & Patient Empowerment (COPE) Program.

The COPE Program will install six water-filling stations in rural areas using an initial $15,000 donation from Nalgene. It will also distribute 90 Carboys, which are 13-gallon reusable, leak-proof containers that Navajo citizens can transport water in. This donation is valued at $14,000, Nalgene says.

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Aliyah Chavez, Kewa Pueblo, is a reporter-producer at Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @aliyahjchavez or email her at achavez@indiancountrytoday.com.

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