(Nespelem, WA) — The Colville Business Council is cancelling the powwow and stick games set for September due to danger from COVID-19. This action comes after local COVID-19 infections spiked following the Omak Stampede.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise again around the Colville Reservation, with infections returning to levels not seen in months. A new variant of the virus known as the Delta variant is proving to be much more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19. While the available vaccines still afford a high level of protection against even the Delta variant of COVID-19, and many people on the Reservation have been vaccinated, many people on the Reservation have not yet taken the vaccine even though they are eligible. Also, children under 12 are not eligible for vaccination.
The Colville Business Council will meet this coming Monday, August 30, to address what other measures are necessary to protect the community. Options include closing down other large public events and considering how to increase the vaccination rate as much as possible.
The Chairman of the Colville Tribes, Andy Joseph, Jr., said, “We know our people love events like the powwow and stick games, but our goal since the day we first heard of COVID-19 has been to protect the lives and health of all residents on Colville lands. We will do what is necessary to keep people safe, especially our young children, who remain completely vulnerable to the virus until a vaccine is developed for them.”
The Chairman continued, “It is more important than ever that every eligible person over the age of 12 be vaccinated against COVID-19. This vaccine is safe, effective, and free. People with medical conditions should consult with their own doctor but, for most people, this vaccine is safer than aspirin. When you get vaccinated, you not only protect yourself, but you also protect everyone around you because the more people are vaccinated, the harder it is for the virus to spread. Please get vaccinated and protect yourself and others, especially the children who cannot yet be vaccinated.”