Oneida Nation cancels August Pow Wow due to rising COVID-19 cases

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 7:48 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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ONEIDA, Wis. (WBAY) - The Oneida Pow Wow Committee has canceled the August Pow Pow due to rising COVID-19 cases in the community.

The Pow Wow was scheduled for Aug. 28 and 29. The Tribe says they are exploring options for a virtual Pow Wow.

“The increase in COVID cases and variant is a major factor in the decision to cancel,” reads a statement from Oneida Nation spokesperson Bobbi Webster.

“We have been monitoring the situation as it has been progressing,” Debbie Danforth, the comprehensive health director for the Oneida Nation, said.

Between 8,000 to 10,000 people were expected to attend the pow wow, which prompted officials to reconsider.

“Pow wows generally will invite people from all over the country to come in and we don’t have anyway of knowing if those individuals are vaccinated or not. We have no way of knowing contact information,” Danforth said.

With less than half of those living on the reservation fully vaccinated, there were concerns of community spread if the pow wow did occur.

“We did have to cancel last year. so people were looking forward to this. So it’s not a real easy decision for our government officials to make, but it was one that’s with the best interest of the community in mind,” Danforth said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 98% of those who have tested positive are unvaccinated, although there are rare breakthrough cases of vaccinated people spreading the disease.

A post on the Oneida Tourism Facebook page reads, “Covid has taken loved ones and left others with lingering medical issues.”

“That’s our goal is that keeping everybody safe. Keeping sure that we can keep the numbers down, and really encourage people to get the vaccine,” Danforth said.

Other area events are still going on as planned. Next Saturday, the Green Bay Packers are hosting family night and the Mile of Music kicks off in Appleton Thursday.

Organizers for both told Action 2 News they’re moving forward as is for the time being.

There are several COVID-19 vaccine opportunities for Tribal members in August. CLICK HERE for more information.

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