Dear Tribal Members,
As you are well aware, these past weeks and months have been difficult and challenging times for all our tribal members and families. The public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant and unforeseen changes to our community and to our way of life. Across the state and on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, governmental orders have required the shutdown of all but essential government and business operations for nearly two (2) months. Across the country, these shutdowns have wreaked havoc and forced travel limitations on nearly everyone, closed restaurants, hotels, casinos, retail stores and commercial operations and caused them to creatively adapt to try to survive. Unfortunately, the Prairie Band has not been immune to these drastic events as the public health emergency necessitated not only the reduction of government operations to essential services only, but also caused the suspension of casino gaming activity since the middle of March. We have been able to creatively adapt the casino for the use and benefit of our community as a commissary but unfortunately there has been no way to open it for normal or even limited gaming use without incurring the possibility of great risk to customers, employees and to our community. Therefore, the Nation will not be issuing a June Per Capita payment to tribal members since there has been no gaming facility activity during this quarter from which to provide a per capita payment. We sincerely regret that this is the current situation.
Yet, despite the fact that COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus and the path forward is not yet clear, as Potawatomi people we are already acquainted with and have intimately experienced grave hardships and challenges in our history. We have met and overcome tragedy and difficulties and I believe that we will emerge from this public health emergency safely and successfully. Although the COVID-19 emergency is not yet behind us and we continue to hunker down in our homes and community to remain safe, please know that the Tribal Council is continuing to work to provide as many services as possible and that the casino will reopen, although it may be a gradual phased reopening, as soon as it is safe for our tribal members, the community and for our casino customers and employees.
We greatly appreciate your patience and willingness to work together. It remains an honor to serve you during this difficult and trying time.
Joseph P. Rupnick
Tribal Council Chairman