The Klamath Tribal Council approved a resolution on Monday afternoon to declare a state of emergency, which will make the tribe eligile for federal relief to help the impact on the tribal economy.
Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry said the tribal council also voted Monday to close Kla-Mo-Ya Casino to indoor dining until further notice in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The casino’s Peak-to-Peak Restaurant will continue to offer carry-out services only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The Klamath Tribes will be working with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-OR) and others on obtaining funds in the days to come, that could help the tribal economy. Funds could come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
In addition, all tribal sanctioned events have been canceled until further notice.
Crater Lake Junction Travel Center remains open, with carry out only for fast food orders.
Kla-Mo-Ya’s Sleep Inn Hotel remains open and available for reservations. The hotel’s eatery will likely box carry-out orders, according to Gentry.
All Tribal sanctioned events have been postponed until further notice, including the C’waam ceremony.
It’s the first time in more than 30 years that the public ceremony will be canceled.
“It’s certainly heartbreaking because it provides opportunity for our youth to see the ceremony, to see the fish,” Gentry said. “To learn about the sucker creation story.”
The ceremony celebrates the origins of the C’waam or Klamath Basin Sucker, integral to the tribes cultural heritage and includes a blessing by tribal elders.
The Klamath Tribe’s Tribal Council made the informal decision to cancel the ceremony last week in response to the guidelines being given by the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re really tracking all of the developments around this and doing everything that we can to protect tribal staff, our tribal members,” Gentry said.
Gentry said the tribes have sent out emails individually to tribal members regarding Coronavirus precautions.