“We don’t know how long this will be going on so we’re just going day by day,” Blackfeet Public Information Officer Jim McNeely said of the coronavirus shutdown in Blackfeet Country. “It’s been, what, 15 days since we made the emergency declaration and it feels like eons.”
The Tribe has established its Incident Command Center, headed up by Robert DesRosier and including all related departments, the Indian Health Service and Lanaina Upham, DES Director for Glacier County. They meet twice per day, mornings and afternoons, according to the Emergency Operations Plan; then DesRosier updates the Tribal Council.
In line with the Governor’s Stay at Home Directive, the Tribe has enacted a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. with officers issuing a warning and then a citation for first and second infractions. All the Tribal offices are closed as well as Tribal buildings, except for essential personnel, while all the facilities are being deep cleaned. Alcohol sales are now allowed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
All the Tribal Clinics have been combined into the facility at the Southern Piegan Health Center and are remaining open until further notice. They are currently working on a tele-health system, but meanwhile folks who want to access their services should call ahead to set things up at 338-3680.
“The Blackfeet Tribe’s stance is protecting the whole Blackfeet Nation, including all residents of the Blackfeet Nation, period,” McNeely said. “We’re taking a proactive stance. We are aware of the death of the Shelby woman so we are following all precautions.”