The 2021 Family Reunion Festival will not be held the last Saturday in June for the second straight year. The cancellation comes on the advice of CPN Medical officials as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the United States.
“When we had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 festival, I never imagined that this pandemic would cause us to cancel another,” Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett said. “We have shared the same experience of distancing from family and friends and canceling travel plans for more than a year now. While we are beginning to see hope with the vaccines, there is still too much uncertainty to host a large gathering.”
Tribal officials and medical professionals from Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services met to discuss what hosting Festival in 2021 could look like. Considerations for canceling the event included the number of people traveling from out of state, the ability to social distance and wear masks, and the likelihood of the United States reaching herd immunity by that time.
“Based on the current number of COVID-19 cases and the vaccination rollout, we don’t believe that the United States will reach herd immunity until late summer or early fall,” said CPNHS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Adam Vascellaro. “When you consider that people will be traveling from other states, most of which have lower COVID-19 vaccination rates than Oklahoma, that there will be times when social distancing isn’t feasible, and that we will have partially vaccinated elderly and unvaccinated youth populations in attendance, it becomes clear that it is still too risky to host a large event.”
In-person voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 26, 2021.Citizens will be required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing while voting. Citizens can also vote absentee.
As required by the CPN constitution, there will also be a General Council meeting on June 26, 2021. The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. There will be limited seating and social distancing and masks required for the meeting.