By Kat Brigham
2020 is almost over. It has been a year with mixed emotions. Frustration being one that many of us have felt because we are not able to see this invisible enemy to prevent its spread in the community. Our ancestors had to deal with this and now we are too. But we all know what to do: wear a mask, socially distance, and wash our hands frequently. Fear and anger are taking hold again because this invisible enemy is impacting all our lives. It is so hard to not be with our families near and far, along with other normal activities.
None of us like this. But all of us need to have faith that we are going to make it and we must do our part. If I was the one person who could do something to make the invisible enemy go away I would have done it in March. But there is no silver bullet. We have to be patient and strong. We all need to follow the Incident Command guidelines to not only protect ourselves but our family, our friends and our community.
The BOT and our Incident Command Team have developed a plan to help deal with this invisible enemy. Our plan has helped but CTUIR is only one entity in the county and the state of Oregon. All of us want to allow our schools and business to reopen but this can only happen if we are healthy.
We are hearing about a vaccine that is being developed and hopefully will be available in 2021. But, once again, it is not a silver bullet. Things will not go back to normal when the vaccine arrives. But Yellowhawk is working on a plan to make the vaccine available. There are a lot of issues and concerns that need to be addressed, namely making sure it safe and effective.
Frankly it is great to hear President-elect Biden say, “We are at war with the virus, not each other” because we all have a role in winning this war. This is a community issue and we need the community to continue to step up that is why on the CTUIR website there is an individual social contract available for everyone to review and sign.
Thanksgiving has come and gone and many of us made some changes. Christmas is coming and we will have to make more changes to our traditions. I know this is hard but please keep up the good fight.. We all need to keep the faith and try to remain positive. If we let the negative things get to us, we hurt ourselves and our family and friends. Reach out to those you love. Please be positive, and have faith and hope for our Tribal community.
Kat Brigham is Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.