Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, March 24 @ 4:05 p.m. / Emergencies, Health, Tribes

Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Responds to COVID-19 Crisis


From a Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation press release:

Smith River, CA – The Tolowa Dee-ni Nation is working creatively to ensure Tribal citizens continue to have access to government services during the global COVID-19 crisis.

“We will go to extraordinary lengths to meet the needs of our people,” said Denise Richards-Padgette, the Chairperson of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council. “We are modifying our procedures to keep our community and staff safe, while ensuring the continuity of our operations.”

Temporary business hours will be instituted for the next two weeks and all Tribal buildings have been closed to the public as a precautionary measure. Services are available by phone and email from Monday through Thursday between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Service providers can be reached by phone at (707) 487-9255. Service providers' email addresses can be found at tolowa-nsn.gov. Through the Shu’-‘aa-xuu-dvn Program, crisis services for victims of domestic violence will remain accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Service recipients are asked to follow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to maintain a six-feet of personal space. The two-week timeframe is reflective of California Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-in-place order and will be re-evaluated at a later date to determine the most prudent course of action.

To mobilize Tribal staff and resources toward addressing the predicted near and far term impacts of the global pandemic, the Tribal Council issued a state of emergency declaration on Thursday, March 19. The following day all Tribal offices were closed to the public to protect the health of Tribal citizens and staff. Tribal personnel are practicing social distancing and taking advantage of digital communication tools, such as teleconferencing, to maintain a healthy and productive work environment.

Despite the challenges posed by the fast-spreading disease, the Tribal Government is functioning near its full capacity. The Nation has activated its incident command team, which is working under a detailed Emergency Operations Plan. The FEMA-approved plan serves as the foundation of the Nation’s multi-pronged effort to anticipate and overcome any adverse, local issues that may arise as a result of the worldwide crisis.

At present, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the local area. The Nation has postponed all large social events, including the Annual Tribal Membership Meeting. For the purpose of preventing a large number of people from gathering in close proximity, a scaled down version of the yearly meeting is happening on Saturday, April 4. Additionally, the in-classroom component of the Howonquet Head Start is suspended until April 10. However, Head Start staff are still providing homework packets and meals to all students.

The Tribal Council and Tribal Government personnel are working day and night to make certain the Nation remains strong during and after this unparalleled pandemic.

For the duration of the crisis, the incident command team will provide regular updates to Tribal citizens and the general public via social media, the website and a phone service called One Call Now.

For additional information about Tribal services, please call (707) 487-9255.


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