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Tue, Oct. 20

Community View | Hualapai Tribe is doing well, working hard to stay safe

The Hualapai Tribe has been continuously monitoring the ongoing and evolving changes of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, since March 2020. For the past seven months since we announced a State of Emergency on March 17, 2020, we have been taking precautionary measures and doing our part in containing the virus. Unprecedented safety measures are being taken due to the coronavirus from continuous stay-at-home orders, curfews, lockdowns, quarantines, closures of departments, hiring of new personnel, isolations, instigating an Incident Command Team, traffic control and travel restrictions.

Our outlook seems to be bright, but again, as when we first started, the challenges are still here in Peach Springs as health impacts have been incurred despite actions taken by the tribal government and our Incident Command Team and members.

We have closed our Grand Canyon West operations due to the virus and with the knowledge that this enterprise is owned by the Tribe and we rely on these government-owned businesses to generate revenue for essential community services that include social services, public safety, police, courts, education and so forth. We have been hit very hard economically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically. We have had 13 deaths due to the virus, and 133 positive cases. As of this brief, we have only one positive case, with 105 recovered and no one in the hospital, quarantined or in isolation. We instituted a “color-coded” system to alert the community of what is in place. Green indicates cease of the pandemic and a vaccine is in place. Blue demonstrates the pandemic is still active, no cases, no spread, but the curfew is still in place. Orange is when there is COVID-19 cases with no community spread and restrictions are in order, such as stay-at-home orders, curfew and monitoring. Red is when we have COVID-19 community spread. A 14-day lock-down and isolation, quarantine, curfew and closures of work will be considered.

We are working to have a better understanding so the surrounding communities where our people purchase food, materials and necessities know that we are keeping safe. We implemented a three-week “shut-down” when the State of Arizona opened and new cases increased.

As we begin our crawl to move forward, we at Hualapai must continue to protect the people. This is our first obligation, and we must do this with good intentions and minds. We want our neighbors to know that we are working hard to continue a good relationship with everyone and see the normal again be in place.

We also must keep our elders protected as they are our history. The core of our young people, and people that are in their early 20s to 50s, please take care of yourselves. Our grandparents and forefathers/ foremothers struggled with health, education and social problems in the past and they still prevailed. We need to work together to make our place better. We are on the right path, and yes, we all don’t agree upon everything that happens, but, the virus is still here.

We cannot predict the future, but if we can work towards a time of lifting the restrictions and reopening we must apply our success to our own self-discipline. We will adjust to the daily, weekly and issues of this pandemic as we move forward. That’s what we need to do. It is sometimes difficult to see the big picture when the things on the news look different to our view. This news brief is to let the people of the northwestern part of Arizona know that we are doing well and working daily to keep safe.

(Dr. Damon R. Clarke is the Hualapai tribal chairman.)

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