Chinle, Navajo Nation

Despite many of the teammates living an hour away from school or more, the players of the Chinle High School Mens Basketball team are brothers. Their tribal nation sprawls across northern Arizona and southern Utah and New Mexico. The players and their families face challenges including intergenerational trauma, lack of reliable access to clean water and sparse internet coverage.
Love of the game, family and traditions motivate these players, like any other Americans who love to fill their days with backyard basketball. In Navajoland, the backyards might just have a few more red rocks. 

See the final story as published in The New York Times.

Nachae Nez drives out to his family's home Jan. 29 near Tsaile on the Navajo Nation. info
The Wildcats listen to Coach Mendoza lay out strategy Jan. 28 before an away game in Holbrook, Ariz. info
The Draper sisters sing a mix of traditional and modern songs before the varsity boys game Jan. 31 in Chinle, Ariz. info
Cooper Burbank, with his siblings, Kendall, 4, Bryce, 7, and Shey *NEED TO SPELL CHECK SHEY'S NAME*, 10, is blessed by church elders at service Jan. 29 at Mexican Waters on the Navajo Nation. info
Joni Burbank, Cooper's mom, follows along in a Bible written in Diné bizaad Jan. 29 at  in Rock Point on the Navajo Nation. info
Junior Dewayne Tom rests before the Wildcats' home game at Chinle High School on Jan. 31 in Chinle, Ariz. info
Senior and team captain Nachae Nez, center, helped his team prepare Jan. 28 before an away game in Holbrook, Ariz. Nez played for Holbrook his freshman year when Mendoza was the coach here. info
Senior Nachae Nez shoots past Page players during the Wildcats' home game at Chinle High School on Jan. 31 in Chinle, Ariz. info
Coach Raul Mendoza after practice at Chinle High School on Jan. 30 in Chinle, Ariz. Mendoza wears ring from a 2011 state championship at Holbrook and has been honored many times in his 30+ years of coaching experience, including twice by the Arizona Coach info
Bryce, 7, Shey *NEED TO SPELL CHECK SHEY'S NAME*, 10, and Cooper play basketball together at their home Jan. 29 near Rock Point on the Navajo Nation. info
Cooper Burbank is blessed by church elders at service Jan. 29 in Rock Point on the Navajo Nation. info
Grandma Virginia shares a baby photo of Cooper and Shey *need to spellcheck shey's name* at their home Jan. 29 near Rock Point on the Navajo Nation. info
The Wildcats suffer a 59 - 46 loss Jan. 28 in Holbrook, Ariz. info
Angelo Lewis after landing hard on a sensitive knee Jan. 28 in Holbrook, Ariz. info
Nachae Nez walks from his family's home over to the next home, one of his grandma's, Jan. 29 near Tsaile on the Navajo Nation. info
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