April 23, 2020
As everyone celebrated Earth Day on April 22nd, the Oneida Nation expressed appreciation for the natural world in our daily activity; every day is earth day and we should always be mindful of the gifts we receive from Mother Earth. We hope you have the opportunity, where ever you might be, to take advantage of spending some time outdoors while being mindful of others and continuing to practice social distancing.
As of today, the Nation’s COVID-19 positive cases remain low, at a total of six (6) cases. However, as the communities around us continue to see a rise in positive cases, we must ensure that we continue to take the necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of our community to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Nation’s leadership continues to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Part of this continued response includes an assessment from our healthcare professionals and emergency management personnel on what actions are necessary to protect our community, membership, employees and customers. A professional assessment, which addresses gatherings, meetings and events scheduled in the next 3-6 months, was completed. On April 22nd, the Business Committee accepted the professional assessment which includes following recommendations:
- Cancel “in person” General Tribal Council meetings be canceled for the next 3-6 months, and explore utilizing technology to hold meetings virtually,
- Cancel large gathering events such as conferences, meetings, in person elections and trainings for the next 3-6 months,
- Encourage the community to postpone large family gatherings such as holiday events, birthday parties, and graduations; and
- Continue Operational planning to keep workplaces safe today and in the future, which may include implementing structural changes and/or facility management to incorporate safe distancing requirements within the workplace as we adjust to the “new normal”.
In addition to the professional assessment, a legal opinion regarding Constitutional Meetings was also requested and accepted by Business Committee meeting on April 22nd.
As a standard, the Business Committee makes decisions based on accurate data, known best practices, and recommendations, such as assessments and opinions, from our Nation’s professionals. In the interest of public health and safety, the Business Committee took action to delay the July 2020 semi-annual General Tribal Council meeting until such time it is safe to hold 1. The Business Committee also directed that a mailing to the membership occur which includes the professional assessment and the legal opinion.
Lastly, many inquiries continue to be received regarding the Nation’s upcoming Primary and General Election. We’ve been informed the Election Board is discussing options that will ensure that voting procedures are safe and allow for social distancing practices to continue. We will continue to work with the Election Board to provide updates as they become available.
We want to express our appreciation for all the families that have been safe at home and we ask your continued cooperation and patience. We hope our community continues to set the bar high for health and safety.
1 See motion, “the Oneida Business Committee cannot cancel any duly called General Tribal Council meeting unless it is for health and safety of our Tribal members,” July 17, 2017 GTC Minutes, p. 50 of 63.