BOIS FORTE RESERVATION - In the spring of 2020, many tribal nations across the state and region canceled powwow seasons, as governments implemented policies to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Nearly a year later, Bois Forte Tribal Chairperson Cathy Chavers publicly thanked organizers of the Sah Gii Bah Gah Powwow held last week in Nett Lake and announced the Lake Vermilion Traditional Powwow scheduled for June 18-20.

During a news brief, Chavers last Friday noted that state data shows a drop in cases and hospitalizations. She regarded the ongoing trend in state data as “good news” and told band members that the reservation has not suffered a case of the virus in three weeks.

Still, she called on people to stay home if feeling sick, get tested for the virus, seek both adult and youth vaccination shots at the Nett Lake and Vermilion clinics and look out for a vaccination clinic at the upcoming powwow.

“We’re very fortunate, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” she said.

The reintroduction of powwow season here comes as data from the county and state health agencies show declining numbers in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The Bois Forte Reservation partially sits in St. Louis County which on Tuesday reported only five new cases. The county reported a total of 18,128 cases, 1,075 hospitalizations and 312 deaths since the pandemic arrived.

The Minnesota Health Department on Tuesday reported 95 cases--the lowest number of new daily cases since April 2020, Minnesota Public Radio reported. There were 147 people hospitalized and 49 in intensive care, the lowest points since the pandemic arrived in the state.

Also the state averaged 156 new cases daily and had 1,265 active cases over the past seven reporting days. The numbers have been averaging 15,000 new cases and 15,000 known cases in May.

Chavers has attributed the drop in cases on the reservation to a band effort to abide by tribal policies and recommendations to mask-up, social distance and get vaccinated. The state’s health agency on Tuesday reported that more than 2.9 million residents 16 and older have at least one vaccine dose.

St. Louis County reported that more than half its population--110,783 out of about 200,000--have received at least one vaccine dose as of Tuesday. At least 103,941 people in the county have completed a vaccine series.


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