Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > Ohkay Owingeh (New Mexico)
Posted: January 5, 2021

ohkay owingehA home in Ohkay Owingeh in New Mexico. Photo: Chuck Olsen

Ohkay Owingeh continues to cancel events as the tribe attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in northern New Mexico.

The tribe went eight months in 2020 without any COVID-19 cases. That changed last October, when the first three positive cases were confirmed on the reservation, located about a half hour north of Santa Fe, the state capital.

As of December 18, the tribe had 80 COVID-19 cases. Additionally, 1 person passed away in November.

“As the new Tribal Administration transitions into office; Be advised that Public Safety continues to be our upmost priority to keep the Community safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Governor J. Patrick Aguino wrote in a January 4, 2021, update.

Along with other new tribal leaders, Aguino assumed office on January 1. A community celebration typically takes place on January 6 but the governor said all gatherings, meals and other events have been canceled.

“Ohkay Owingeh continues to be on a ‘No Gathering’ mandate; and we ask that all Community Members please comply with the mandate as set forth by Tribal Administration,” Aguino wrote.

The tribe began administering COVID-19 vaccine doses last month to health care professionals. Vaccinations are containing this month among essential workers, elders and others in high-risk categories.

Ohkay Owingeh is located in Rio Arriba County. Despite being home to several tribes and a large city of more than 10,000 people, the county has seen a relatively low COVID-19 positive rate.

As of December 28, 2020, American Indians and Alaska Natives accounted for 16.7 percent of coronavirus cases in New Mexico, according to the state Department of Health. Native people represent about 9.5 percent of the overall population in the state.

Join the Conversation