On July 3, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community went back to providing essential services only. Once again government buildings have been closed due to the increase in positive COVID-19 tests, not only here in the Community, but throughout the metro Phoenix area.
As of July 10, the Salt River Clinic has conducted 2,779 tests for COVID-19. Of those tests, 114 have come back positive of Community members who reside in the Community, and that number is increasing. I will say that of the 114 positive cases, 71 people had the virus and have recovered, and four individuals are hospitalized. We have lost six Community members due to COVID-19. Saying these numbers, I want you to know that these are individuals we are talking about, families we are talking about. I think it’s always important to think about those families, think about our Community and the grieving process they are going through.
Because we all have to stay away from family members and friends who have lost loved ones during this time we are not able to be there with them as we usually are as a Community, to help that grieving process.
If you have the ability to reach out through technology to those who are having difficult times, make sure you do that. Most important, think about them in your prayers. Prayers are powerful, so I encourage you to think about those who are going through difficult times.
In our Community, throughout the country and across Indian Country, we’re seeing individuals between the ages of 20 and 44 exhibiting the highest rates of positive COVID-19 tests. It’s important for the young people to realize how serious this is. Think about your parents and grandparents. I don’t think any of us want any of our family members to suffer, and that is what the COVID-19 virus does. We don’t want any of our members to go through this. So again, let’s make good decisions when we think about leaving our homes. Right now home is the safest place to be.
The Tribal Council, myself and the vice-president want you as SRPMIC members to really think about decisions that you are making at this time. I am going to be honest, there are decisions that Council will have to make in these upcoming few days and weeks that are going to determine a lot of things that are happening here in the Community. One of them is the river—are we going to keep the river open? Do we go to a curfew? These are some of the things that we are talking about.
There is still an opportunity to complete your 2020 Census form. Go online and get that done at www.census2020.com. It’s very important for all tribes, as Census information determines how much federal funding tribes receive. See ads on pages 8 and 12.
There are three Council seats available: two in District I (Salt River) and one in District II (Lehi). Because of the number of nominees certified to be on the ballot as Council Member candidates, the Primary Election process is not required. There were four nominees certified for District I (Salt River) and two nominees certified for District II (Lehi). The only election we will have this year is the General Election, which will take place on September 1. See information on page 5.
It’s important to be aware that there are many scams on social media, some pertaining to the Relief Payment. If anyone asks you for personal information, such as your birthdate, Social Security number, bank account or other private information, do not give it to them. Identity theft continues to be a significant problem across the country.
Relief funds will be available to help Community members. The relief payment application process will begin Friday, July 17.
I want to remind you that these are federal dollars, so there has to be an application process. It’s a very simple application, but make sure to fill out all the information that is requested. The (July) per-capita is not going (to be) at the amount we usually see because of the shut-down of the casino due to COVID-19. This relief fund is going to help.
Official information from the Community will be mailed out through letters with a hard copy application and FAQ. Or you can also go online to fill out an electronic form at https://srpmic-nsn.gov/reliefpayment/ on Friday, July 17.
Distribution of payments will begin August 7, you will receive the payment in one of three ways: mail, pay card or direct deposit whichever method you received your last per capita payment. Information will be forthcoming using the tribes communication tools. Specific questions can be directed to (480) 362-7330.
In Closing …
During this difficult time that we are going through, let’s protect ourselves, our families and our Community and SHIELD UP. God bless you.