NOTICE Public Closure

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 All Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Offcies will be closed to the public until further notice due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

We will contine to provide updates on the status of public closures via
social media
and our website


Date: March 19, 2020
Contact: Briannon Fraley, (707) 487-9255 x 1125

Download .pdf Press_Release_COVID-19_Tolowa

Download .pdf Resolution 2020-19 Declaration of a  State Of Emergency Due to Global COVID-19 Pandemic.


Smith River, CA – Today, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council declared a state of emergency as part of a coordinated effort to proactively address the predicted local impacts of the global Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We are working diligently to protect the safety of our citizens, our staff and the greater community,” said Denise Richards-Padgette, the Chairperson of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation. “We are taking every precaution to limit the spread of the pathogen when it arrives in our corner of the world. It is critical to err on the side of caution as we live in a rural area with very limited resources.”

The declaration enables the Nation to expeditiously mobilize staff and resources toward ensuring the Tribal government functions effectively during this unprecedented human health emergency. In addition to issuing the emergency proclamation, the Tribal Council approved a plan to continuously provide Tribal citizens with essential services, such social welfare and housing services, during the crisis.

Declaring a state of emergency is required to activate the Nation’s Emergency Operations Plan, which contains a roadmap for navigating the complexities of large-scale crises, such as the coronavirus outbreak. The Tribal Council is regularly meeting with the Nation’s emergency manager and executive team to preemptively identify and develop solutions for any short and long-term challenges that may arise as a consequence of the pandemic. Tribal leaders are also coordinating with the Del Norte County Office of Emergency Services as well as state and federal agencies involved in the response effort. All Tribal departments are working together with a collective goal of successfully minimizing the impact of the virus to the community. Additionally, Tribal staff are already employing a suite of digital tools, including web and teleconferencing, to adhere to social distancing recommendations and to be ready for the implementation of more rigorous mandates to reduce disease transmission rates.

To date, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in proximity to where the Nation is headquartered in Del Norte County. Last week, the Tribal government postponed all large meetings and social events, based on recommendations from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, the Nation temporarily suspended the in-classroom component of the Howonquet Head Start and Early Learning Center from March 16 to April 10, 2020. However, the Tribally operated Head Start is offering meals for students Monday through Friday. All Head Start students are also receiving individualized homework packets so that they may continue their educational development for the duration of the crisis.

“We are doing everything we can to maintain the high level of service our community deserves,” Chairperson Richards-Padgette said.

COVID-19 is an infectious, respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. First observed in Wuhan City, China, at the end of 2019, the coronavirus quickly spread to 159 countries and caused 7,529 fatalities as of March 17, 2020, according to the World Health Organization. The pathogen is primarily transmitted between people in close contact. It can also be contracted by touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching the nose or mouth. People with compromised immune systems, including the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions, are particularly susceptible to the virus.

In addition to taking actions to limit person-to-person interactions, the Nation is implementing the following measures to lessen the possibility of a calamitous COVID-19 outbreak in Del Norte County:

  • Work travel is prohibited for all Tribal employees
  • All social gatherings are postponed until further notice
  • Increased cleaning and disinfection is occurring at all Tribal facilities
  • All Tribal Committee meetings are postponed until further notice

To curtail the spread of the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking the community to take the following precautions:

  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Disinfect commonly used surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and light switches
  • Avoid contact with people who appear ill
  • Limit in-person contact with particularly vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly or those with immune system issues.



Date: March 20, 2020
Contact: Briannon Fraley, (707) 487-9255 x 1125
Download .pdf  Press_Release_L7 _Casino_COVID19_closure


Smith River, CA –

Today, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council temporarily closed the Lucky 7 Casino to the general public. The temporary closure aims to protect to the health and wellbeing of patrons and staff at the Lucky 7 Casino, House of Howonquet and the Club 7 Sports Bar during the global COVID-19 crisis. The Howonquet Lodge and Fuel Mart will remain open at this time as they are deemed essential services. 

While there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases anywhere near any of the Nation’s enterprises, the Tribal Council is taking every precaution in terms of preventing the transmission of the disease. The Nation is coordinating with the Governor’s Office, the Del Norte County Office of Emergency Services as well as the state and federal agencies engaged in mitigating the transmission of the disease and will continue to do so throughout the duration of the crisis. 

“We are going to great lengths to protect the health and wellbeing of our patrons, personnel and the greater community,” said John Scott, the Lucky 7 Casino’s General Manager. 

The Lucky 7 Casino will implement a two week temporary closure of the gaming operations, restaurant and bar. This closure went into effect at 10 AM this morning, and will consider re-opening Saturday, April 4th at 8AM. 

“We will continue to monitor the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and adjust our operational needs as the crisis progresses,” said Denise Richards-Padgette Chairperson of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation. 

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation is a sovereign, federally recognized, self-governing Indian Nation governed by the Tribal Council, which is comprised of seven (7) elected members. The Mission of the Nation is, [t]o exert and protect the inherent sovereignty endowed upon the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation to promote our tribal identity, and the wellbeing of our people, community, and environment by building a strong foundation, managing resources, and perpetuating our cultural lifeways and legacy. 

The Nation’s businesses employ 290 local residents and contribute much to the regional economy. Nearly half of the employees are involved in work that directly supports the community, such as providing social services and running the drinking water system in the Smith River area. These services benefit many Tribal and non-Tribal families in Del Norte and Curry Counties. 


All Tribal offices closed today, March 20, 2020
California Governor Newsom issued a statewide stay at home order effective the evening of March 19, 2020.
All Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation offices will be closed today, Friday, March 20, 2020 as we begin to implement the Tribe’s emergency operations plan. We will continue to share updated information here on our official Facebook page.
To read the Governor’s Order please click on the link: