Citing increased proactive measures due to the coronavirus spread, the Wahzhazhe Cultural Center in Pawhuska is canceling its cultural classes and will be closed to the public starting March 20 until further notice.
In a March 16 Facebook post, the WCC announced: “The first priority of the Wahzhazhe Cultural Center is the health and safety of our students, staff and community members. As a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, ALL cultural classes are canceled until further notice.”
Addie Hudgins, WCC director, said staff will be available by phone or email. “We are limiting interaction for the safety of the public, as well as our employees,” she said. “I met with the staff Monday and they have each prepared a list of tasks to complete while we work our way through the pandemic and not having classes.”
The WCC public closure and class cancellations come as other Osage Nation entities have announced similar closures as part of measures aimed to reduce the coronavirus COVID-19 spread.
The Nation also canceled the 2020 Sovereignty Day Celebration powwow, which was scheduled March 14 in the Skyline Event Center at the Tulsa Osage Casino Hotel.
Hudgins said the Cultural Encampment scheduled April 25-26 is still taking place at the ON Ranch, but any changes will be announced if needed for the overnight camping event.
“At this time, we are still accepting registrations for the Cultural Encampment via email only. Registrations may be sent to the email listed on the packet or firstname.lastname@example.org,” Hudgins said.
Downloadable applications and more information on the WCC can be found online at: https://www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/cultural-center. Hudgins will be available by email at email@example.com and by phone during the closure at (918) 287-5537.
ON Museum and Visitors Center also closed
In separate announcements, the ON Museum and ON Visitors Center both in Pawhuska also announced their plans to close to the public.
“As a precautionary measure due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency,” the Nation announced both entity closures on its social media platforms.