Blackfeet Nation Releases Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Precautions

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, the Blackfeet Nation announced Monday it will adopt a restricted Phase 2 opening plan, which included a mask warrant, curfew, and travel and operations limited trade, but on Tuesday the tribe retracted its statement.

In its most recent statement, the Blackfeet COVID-19 Incident Command announced that while the tribe will not enter into a restricted Phase 2 opening plan, a “mask warrant is strongly encouraged with social distancing, a good hand hygiene and vaccines “. The tribe encourages people who are feeling sick to stay home, and tribe employees are allowed to work from home if they have any health concerns.

“We apologize for any confusion this may have caused,” the incident command posted in a statement on Facebook. Representatives of the tribe were not immediately available for comment.

Montana tribes have historically implemented stricter COVID-19 safety precautions than the state. The Blackfeet Nation has lost 56 community members to the virus and on Friday the tribe’s Incident Command reported 104 active cases in the community.

As a result of long-term divestment and oppression, Native Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. A recent report from the Department of Public Health and Human Services found that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among Native people in Montana in 2020.

Great Falls Public Schools announced Monday that they will adopt distance learning for the remainder of the week, as 185 students and staff have been infected with COVID-19.

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Susan W. Lloyd