KWSO News for 3/24/20

The COVID-19 pandemic has tightened its grip on the Nation! Yesterday afternoon, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council, authorized Chairman Raymond Tsumpti Sr., to issue a letter that encourages residents to stay home and minimize travel to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This was sent out after Oregon Governor Kate Brown had issued her Stay Home order to Oregon residents. There were 30 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 191 as of 8am yesterday. The new cases were reported in Clackamas, Hood River, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Washington Counties. Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Natural Resources has posted closure signs at Indian Park and Dry Creek campground. Additional signage will make clear that parks, rivers and lakes are closed to all but local traffic, to eliminate additional people in the vicinity during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you need to leave your home for food, medical and essential job services, the Tribal Council encourages you to maintain a social distance of at least six feet from any person not a member of your immediate household. Currently there have been no confirmed cases in Jefferson, Wasco or Crook Counties. The Oregon Health Authority wants to help get the message out to all Oregonians to #StayHomeSaveLives They have social media cards that can be downloaded from Their website. Some of the Do’s are: Have video and phone chats, drop food off to neighbors who can’t go out. The Don’ts: Don’t gather in groups, don’t get together with friends, don’t have play dates for kids and Don’t make unnecessary trips.

The coronavirus outbreak has thrust parents everywhere into the role of their children’s primary educators. They’ve been left scrambling to sift through educational resources and juggle lesson plans with jobs and other responsibilities. Across the United States, more than 118,000 public and private schools in 45 states have closed, affecting 53 million students, according to a tally kept by Education Week. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has urged the state’s more than 6 million schoolchildren and their families to make long-term plans, telling them few, if any, schools would reopen before the summer break. Dr. Shilo Tippet gives some advice on how you can talk to your children about COVID-19. “It’s important to talk to kids at the age appropriate level. So young kids don’t need to hear a lot of details, they just need general layperson terms of what’s going on. Older kids tend to be more interested in science and data. I really, highly recommend that you only get your information as far as parents, from reliable sources and I would pick one or two. You could check it daily like the CDC Website or the World Health Organization, but that’s the only place you get your news from, so that you know the information is accurate. That’s where you get the information that you share with your family.” The 509-J school district has announced their new meal times and locations for children. The service will begin on Monday March 30th and is available to children 18 years and younger.  You can find the complete list of locations and times on KWSO’s website under the COVID-19 update or also on today’s KWSO News at

The Warm Springs Department of Human Services Self-Sufficiency Office which was located in the Family Resource Center, has shifted to the old Elementary School until Friday.  They will relocate again next Monday (3/30/20) to the Madras Self-Sufficiency Branch office on 189 NE Cypress Street until further notice.  At this time Self-Sufficiency is encouraging phone appointments and online applications to reduce potential exposure of the COVID-19 to staff and participants.  If you have any questions regarding your benefits, please call (541) 213-1019 or (541) 475-6131.  All Warm Springs Residents interested in applying for program benefits are encouraged to apply online.  There will be a link in today’s news posted online at

A recent stand against drug abuse initiated by Spokane Tribal Member Steven Ford Jr., led to a coordinated walk on several reservations. The Warm Springs Behavioral Health program coordinated a Walk on the campus area on March 13th, which was led by an Opening Prayer by Larry McKinney and Aldo Garcia led the Wellbriety WAR Group singing prayer songs. There was a testimony and apology to the community from Brian Renfro and Colleta Macy, while Caroline Cruz shared encouraging words. A song made by Tribal Inmates (30 Block Boys) was shared. Most of the 50+ Walk participants are in active recovery from alcohol and/or drugs, which made the walk powerful.

A leader of one of Oregon’s nine federally-recognized tribes says she’s frustrated at the lack of immediate funding for coronavirus measures. Cheryle Kennedy is Chairwoman for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. She says while she appreciates a recent allocation of 36-thousand dollars from the state to monitor, screen, and control potential cases, more is needed. “I have participated on calls to the White House. They are our trustee. There have been appropriations identified for tribes, yet we have not received a dollar yet. And I’m not saying that we won’t. Every tribe has a federal ID number. There’s the mechanism. Cut the red tape, get the funds out now.” A tribal spokesperson says there have been COVID-19 cases in counties adjacent to the Grand Ronde native community, but there’s no reason to believe any were associated or had contact with the tribe.

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