In response to an increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus among tribal members, the Colorado River Indian Tribal Council has reinstated the “Safer at Home” order that was in effect from March 13 to May 28 this year. year. Meeting in extraordinary session on September 16, the Tribal Council put this order in place until October 31. It was then extended until December 31.
In their resolution approved on September 16, the tribal council said La Paz County and the IHS were reporting a “significant increase” in the number of new cases over the past 14 days. They also noted a low vaccination rate among county residents and tribal members, and the virus continues to be a “grave danger” to the tribal and non-tribal community.
Tribes demand that face masks be worn indoors in public spaces on tribal lands. They should also be worn in the Tribal office complex at Mohave Road and Second Avenue (Four Corners). Businesses in the Parker area located on tribal lands include Walmart, the stores in the Moovalya Plaza Mall (Safeway, CVS, and Dollar General included), and the two Running Man Fuels stores.
The order also includes restrictions on the size of public gatherings. The Native American Days Parade, which was scheduled for October 1, has been canceled. The CRIT Native American Days events at Manataba Park have always been held, but they have become driving events. The Miss CRIT Royalty competition has become a virtual internet event with no live audience.
Large sites are required to submit a coronavirus mitigation plan which must be approved by the tribal council. The BlueWater Resort & Casino remains open as they submitted such a plan and had it approved. Face mask warrants and social distancing rules are in place, and BlueWater has canceled all special events until further notice.
The order also resulted in the cancellation of the Best in Desert Racing Association’s BlueWater Desert Challenge, which had been scheduled for early November. BITD moved the event to California after CRIT informed them that they would not be allowed to hold the event on tribal lands. Jeff Phillips of BITD later explained at a Parker City Council meeting that they could not move the event to the Bureau of Land Management field outside of the CRIT reservation because they had no allowed only for two races on the BLM field.
As of December 13, the last time CRIT released figures on the pandemic, 1,136 tribal members had tested positive in 4,500 members, or better than one in four. There have been 20 coronavirus-related deaths among tribal members. Like many indigenous peoples in this country, CRIT had a higher rate of its members testing positive than the general population of the United States.