Tulsa Indian Affairs Commission declares Dec. 31 as Native American Day of Prayer and Blessing

Photo caption: In 2019, Princesses from different Oklahoma tribal nations attended the Native American Day festivities in Tulsa. CODY HAMMER/Osage News

The Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission has declared Dec. 31, 2020, as the Native American Day of Prayer and Blessing.

“This shall be a day on which members of every Indigenous tribe, community, family and each individual, according to their own traditions, offer prayers for the beloved relatives we have lost in this extraordinarily difficult year, and ask for blessings of continued strength, resiliency, and prosperity for our people, that we may soon embrace one another again to share in sorrow and in joy,” according to a statement written by Nico Albert, and signed by Dorcas Kent Williams, Tulsa County Cultural Chair.

According to the statement, the impact COVID-19 has had on the Native American community is a crisis and emphasized the loss of elders is especially devastating because they are tribal nations’ culture keepers, and they help tribes maintain their traditions with their ancestral knowledge.

“The passing of one year into the next is always a time for reflection and hope for the future,” according to the statement. “We believe that in this significant and monumental moment in history which we are currently experiencing, it is of grave importance that we come together in solidarity as the Indigenous people of this land.”

The statement also acknowledged the good work tribal leaders have done for their communities in distributing PPE to their citizens and the use of CARES Act money for direct assistance.