MENOMINEE INDIAN RESERVATION — With the increase in reported COVID-19 cases on the Menominee Indian Reservation in central Wisconsin, the Menominee Tribe has closed its tribal government offices and facilities for two weeks.

The tribe’s Emergency Management Coordinator, along with Incident Command, declared a curfew order for the reservation. The curfew went into effect Wednesday and expires Aug. 31, with curfew hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The Menominee Indian Reservation, as well as areas surrounding the Menominee Nation, and Wisconsin are experiencing an alarming rise in positive COVID-19 cases. Tribal government employees in four different departments have tested positive and employees in three other departments have had direct contact with positive cases.

“These facts threaten the ability for the Menominee Tribe to fulfill its role to serve and protect the community’s safety,” the tribe said in a press release.

The closures are meant to stop the spread of the virus in the community and within tribal departments.  

According to data, positive cases on the reservation have nearly doubled within a week.  The reservation, which shares boundaries with Menominee County, has 17 positive cases and eight active cases as of July 27.  

Tribal offices will be closed to the public and employees. Menominee tribal government department and services staff will work remotely until Aug. 11 and will be available through email or phone. There will be exceptions for critically essential employees, caregivers, contractors, vendors, food delivery services and shipping and delivery. 

The following critically essential departments and services will be available, with employees reporting to work and providing services to the tribal community:

Menominee Tribal Police Department, Menominee Tribal Detention Center, Menominee Tribal Aging Division and CBRF, Menominee Tribal Clinic, Menominee Tribal Conservation, Menominee Tribal Food Distribution, Menominee Tribal Utilities, Menominee Tribal Transit, Menominee Tribal Gaming Commission, Menominee Tribal Maintenance and Housekeeping and Eagle’s Nest Shelter. Food delivery services also will continue.  

The closures do not extend to the Menominee Casino or other tribal chartered enterprises. These entities would announce any changes to operations.

Menominee tribal leaders ask that you keep safety in mind by practicing social distancing along with everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face masks or face coverings and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

It's December 2020, can you help...

We’re asking our readers for a little help as 2020 draws to a close.  If you can afford it, we hope you’ll consider a one-time donation of $5 or more to help fund our Indigenous-led coverage of important news throughout Indian Country.  Covering the news hasn’t been easy this year, but we believe it’s been critically important given the changes and upheaval we’ve experienced — from COVID-19 and the 2020 Census, to issues of racial equity, efforts to suppress the Native vote, and far too many stories of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi Rickert
Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. He can be reached at [email protected]