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Posted: March 19, 2020

Aaron Payment serves as chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and as vice president of the National Congress of American Indians. Photo by Kevin Abourezk


Sault Tribe declares state of emergency

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors and Gaming Authority each declared a state of emergency at special meetings March 17, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. The state of emergency is declared throughout all reservation lands across the seven-county service area.

Under the Board of Director’s resolution, the tribe’s Executive Director, casino CEO and EDC Director are authorized to modify policies and procedures, order closures, cancel events, implement programs and other steps necessary to protect the public. The tribe’s casino administration, tribal government, health division and law enforcement will coordinate to maximize efforts to resist the spread of COVID-19.

Kewadin Casinos announced March 17 it is temporarily closing all five Kewadin Casinos March 18-22 with an opening scheduled for April 6. (See for details.)

Some Sault Tribe government buildings will be closed to the public. Offices closing to the public will begin on a tiered schedule March 19 through March 23, with plans to re-open April 6. Staff will be working at their job sites or remotely from home, depending on their duties.

Information for tribal members on how to make appointments for specific emergency or membership services will be posted on the tribe’s website, shared with its official Facebook and at each tribal site throughout the service area. A separate list of tribal programs accepting appointment only visits will be posted. Please watch for further information and updates.

The state of emergency will stay in place until the situation no longer requires it. “The tribe’s state of emergency will end when emergency conditions no longer exist and we have programs in place to recover from its effects,” tribal Executive Director Christine McPherson said.

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