Photo caption: In 2017, the UOSC had their fall gathering outside in Carlsbad, California. The organization is exploring a virtual option for 2020. Osage News File Photo
As the cooler fall season and temperature changes arrive, the COVID-19 pandemic continues prompting the United Osages of California organization to explore hosting a virtual gathering.
Consideration of a virtual UOSC gathering comes as the state of California remains under a stay at home order except for permitted work, errands and shopping, according to the state government website on COVID-19 mandates and recommendations. The website also notes gatherings are restricted to being held outdoors and must meet certain conditions including a 2-hour time duration and reduced attendee capacity “because gatherings pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19.”
In an Oct. 14 open letter to UOSC family and friends, UOSC Chairman Greg Clavier writes: “I hope you are all safe and healthy during these trying times. Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic along with state and local health restrictions, the UOSC will not be able to safely meet in person this fall. However, I have been looking into the possibility of arranging a virtual meeting (Zoom/ Webinar) with Osage Nation government and cultural leaders.”
The UOSC update from Clavier comes nearly one year since the last gathering event hosted by the San Diego County-based organization, which has held in-person gatherings for decades for Osage attendees living on the West Coast or in neighboring states. The gatherings typically include presentations from ON officials visiting from Oklahoma or local California Osages presenting information of interest to the attendees in addition to a lunch meal and raffle of donated gift and art items to help pay for supply costs.
In November 2019, the UOSC hosted its fall gathering in the Carlsbad Senior Center, which drew 70-plus attendees coming from various communities in the San Diego and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. As COVID-19 cases started being reported on the West Coast in January and February 2020 (with initial cases related to travel to China) and community spread increased, the UOSC canceled its spring gathering, which included a forum for Osages seeking Congressional office in the June 1 general election.
In Oklahoma, virtual and telephonic meetings are now the new normal for state, local and tribal government entities including the Osage Nation. Several ON boards hold their regular and special meetings by electronic means, as well as the ON Congress, which held the constitutionally-mandated 2020 Hun-Kah and Tzi-Zho sessions virtually.
Clavier said he will announce in a timely manner if a virtual UOSC virtual gathering is scheduled. For more information on the UOSC, Osage constituents can email firstname.lastname@example.org
As of Oct. 16, California, reported 861,476 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started and 16,830 deaths. California’s state population is 39.7 million as of January 2020, according to an NBC Los Angeles article.
Up-to-date information on COVID-19 in California is available online at: https://covid19.ca.gov/state-dashboard/