Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Declares State of Emergency

By: Michelle Simon

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has declared a State of Emergency effective March 16, 2020, due to the unprecedented public safety situation created by COVID-19. This declaration shall allow the Tribal Council to take any necessary action and have all necessary power as authorized under the Nation’s constitution to provide for the welfare of the tribal government, tribal organizations, tribal assets, tribal lands, and tribal members to ensure their safety, health, and welfare for the duration of this emergency.

“The Prairie Band People have faced many challenges in the past since first contact through disease and annihilation, yet we are still here. This outbreak is another challenge that we must face and like the others, it too will pass,” stated Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Chairman Joseph Rupnick.

Emergency plans have been enacted in the community. This has included the closure of the Boys and Girls Club, Early Childhood Education Center, and Fire Keepers Elder Center for normal services effective Monday, March 16, 2020, until further notice.

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Tribal Council suspended gaming operations of the Prairie Band Casino & Resort to limit the risk of COVID-19 to the local community. Prairie Band Casino & Resort anticipates re-opening on March 31, 2020.

All Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation community activities are suspended until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to, the Enrollment Townhall meeting, the April General Council meeting, DPP activities, Language activities, Student Recognition Night, Earth Day and Easter Activities, the Early Head Start Health Fair and the Prairie Band Casino & Resort Art Show. These closures are in accord with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control on limiting groups to 50 participants or less.

The PBPN Old Bingo Hall and Rock Building are closed for private events until further notice, including AA meetings.

The COVID-19 Pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation and the PBPN Tribal Council is actively committed to protecting the most valuable resource, the People.