Havasupai Tribal Council declares emergency in response to COVID-19 pandemic
The Havasupai Tribal Council has signed Resolution No. 12-20 declaring a state of emergency for the Havasupai Tribe due to the coronavirus pandemic and the confirmation of COVID-19 in jurisdictions surrounding the Havasupai Reservation.
By declaring this emergency, the Havasupai Tribal Council can seek access to the $50 billion in federal funds designated to combat the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, as well as any additional federal funds that may be designated at a later date.
“The Council felt this action was necessary to assist the Tribe in developing response readiness and preventative measures to protect its resident Tribal Members, employees, service providers, and community members,” said Chairwoman Eva Kissoon.
The Havasupai Reservation is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, one of the country’s most remote and isolated areas, accessible only by foot, horseback, or helicopter, with a single point of entry to the Havasupai Reservation at Hualapai Hilltop, through which all food, cleaning, and medical supplies for Tribal Members—as well as food supplies for the Tribe’s animals, must pass. The Havasupai Tribe’s enrollment is approximately 700 Tribal Members of which more than half live in Supai.
“With an already limited access point, any possible closures or restrictions on movement will wreak havoc on the health, safety, and welfare of Havasupai Tribal Members if it interrupts the flow of food, cleaning, and medical supplies to the Havasupai Reservation,” said Chairwoman Kissoon. “Declaring an emergency and accessing the federal funds will help to ensure the continued flow of critical food, cleaning, and medical supplies into Supai.”
Resources are very limited in Supai – one store with limited food and over-the-counter medications, and one Indian Health Services clinic which, as of March 19, 2020, has no hospital beds available.
This action is in addition to Resolution No. 10-20 that was passed on March 13, 2020 that suspended tourism from March 16-April 14, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The Tribe has been following the guidelines shared by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and as of today, there have been no reported cases of the coronavirus in Supai.