California Osage organizations cancel spring gatherings due to coronavirus

Photo caption: Both the United Osages of Southern California and the Northern California Osage associations have canceled their fall meetings due to the Coronavirus outbreak. 

With the increasing news reports on U.S. outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus, both California Osage organizations announced their spring gatherings scheduled March 28-29 are canceled.

The United Osages of Southern California and Northern California Osage organizations announced their respective event cancellations on March 4 after speaking with Osage Nation officials and some Congressional candidates who had planned air travel from Oklahoma to the events in Carlsbad and Woodland.

Hosts for both events had invited those running for Congress in the June 1 general election to attend candidate forums scheduled as part of the day-long gatherings.

“All of the candidates along with our Osage Nation leaders would have had to travel through busy airports to attend our (March 28) gathering,” UOSC Chairman Greg Clavier said in the cancelation notice. “I could not in good conscious have them exposed to the potential risks at this time, not to mention the UOSC membership at a large group function.”

In a statement on the NCO organization’s Facebook forum, the March 29 gathering cancellation notice stated: “After careful consideration, our coordinating committee has decided to cancel our March 29th meeting in Woodland due to concerns regarding the Coronavirus and minimizing potential exposure to those who are traveling and/or may have compromised immune systems. We want to keep our people safe.”

As of March 4, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus infections stood at 11, according to USA Today. There were 148 confirmed cases across at least 15 states as of that same day, according to a coronavirus dashboard run by Johns Hopkins University, with that number expected to rise. That afternoon, NBC News reported a contract medical professional, who conducted passenger screenings at Los Angeles International Airport, tested positive for the coronavirus.

Common signs of COVID-19 infection include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. If the infection worsens, it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death. USA Today also reported one coronavirus fatality was in California’s Placer County, which is northeast of Sacramento.

Citing similar health concerns for ON government employees, the Executive Branch announced on March 3 that all out-of-state travel for employees deemed unnecessary or not required for grant funding compliance is also suspended.

With the UOSC gathering canceled during election season, Clavier said: “I will be working with the Osage Nation to find a way for UOSC members to obtain information on the candidates running for Congress. As soon as the information is available, I will distribute to UOSC members. The UOSC will have a fall gathering tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7.”

NCO coordinating committee member Keir Johnson-Reyes also wrote on Facebook: “We look forward to our fall meeting and will send out information on upcoming recorded candidate forums, to ensure our community in Northern California is well-informed. Thank you for your understanding.”

There will be an Osage Congress Candidate’s Forum, hosted by Osage Minerals Councilman Myron Red Eagle, on March 26 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Pawhuska Community Center.

The Osage News Candidate Debates are scheduled for Saturday, April 4, at the Tulsa Osage Casino Hotel starting at 1 p.m. The debates will be live-streamed on the Osage Nation YouTube Channel and the newspaper’s Facebook page and will be archived to view afterward as well.