The following 2020 Funeral Safety Policy and Recommendations is provided by the Tribal Office of Emergency Management (TOEM) of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. During this COVID19 pandemic, the Tribes Incident Commander (IC) is Eric King.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in positive cases on the Fort Hall Reservation, this safety policy and recommendation list will assist families in minimizing the spread of the virus in our community.
We are sorry for your loss and respectfully provide this information for you and your family to help keep everyone safe during this time of mourning. We understand, paying the proper respects to our deceased is a profound and integral part of our Shoshone and Bannock culture. The traditional events following a death typically involve a large crowd, direct contact with the body, and feeding family, friends and community members.
As a result of the transmission threat of COVID-19, the following protocols related to funeral activities shall be in effect immediately and followed until notice is given by the Fort Hall Business Council and/or TOEM.
The following steps is the notification process for a funeral:
1. According to the Tribes current funeral process, upon a tribal member passing, a family member is advised to contact the Tribes Enrollment Department at 208-478-3839 to access the Burial Grant. Eligibility of receiving a burial grant will be provided at time of request. Once contact is made with Enrollment, a representative from the Enrollment Department shall contact the IC, Eric King, for the COVID pandemic within 24-hours of their notification. This representative shall give the IC the name of a contact person and their contact number. For weekend services, please call 208-251-4842. (Enrollment)
2. The IC shall contact the person representing the family of the deceased within 24 hours of their notification. This designated family representative must work with IC on implementation of the COVID19 safety measures.
3. The IC will make contact with the Tribes Supply Officer at the Property Department to order the requested Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the funeral. Once the order is compiled the supply officer shall contact IC and have a representative to pick up the order and deliver the same day to the funeral. IC will contact the designated family representative listed on this sheet.
4. PPE supplies (face masks and gloves) shall be provided for your funeral.
5. Tribal Health staff shall be available to meet with the family to advise and answer any COVID19 questions or concerns from the family.
6. It is recommended that no funeral services shall take place at any district lodges due to the limited size of the district buildings or lodges.
7. It is recommended that the funeral home will dress the body(s); clothes and items may be provided to the home. It is recommended that the funeral home staff do the dressing, until further notice. The funeral home is equipped with proper safety equipment and know the appropriate protocol as morticians for such situations. The funeral home will be asked if one or two family members or designated individual (wear a mask) may be present during the dressing to observe cultural/custom ways/law if personal protective equipment, (PPE) is available and universal precautions can be followed. (The National Funeral Directors Association COVID19 webpage: National Funeral Directors Association is a resource to review such procedures and protocols.)
8. It is recommended that following the dressing of the body, that there shall be safety regulations put forth on a limited and/or small viewing to help minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. Limiting common activities during a viewing such as hugging, shaking hands, etc. could spread COVID-19.
9. It is recommended that only graveside services can be performed at this time and 6 feet distancing rule must be adhered to during this service.
10. It is recommended that funerals be limited to only immediate family only. Notice will be provided if the graveside service is open or closed to the public. No handshaking or hugging should be allowed during the service.
11. It is recommended that the family not provide buffet lines for the service. Sack lunches to-go may be provided as long as the 6 feet rule can be maintained during distribution and consumption. Those persons preparing any sack lunches should also be mindful of safety protocols during the preparation of any foods.
12. It is recommended that traditional giveaways be conducted following safety measures, including social/physical distancing, face masks and gloves must be worn by the ladies who distribute the items.
13. It is recommended that those people who enter into the tipi or tent, shall be limited to 3-4 people at a time, to ensure social distancing and to protect the family members who are inside the tent/tipi.
The PPE and supplies that can be given to funeral gatherings shall include:
• 3-ply face masks (list quantity below)
• Face shields in the event a patron is unable to wear a face mask. (optional)
Gloves (list quantity & size below)
The recommendation to those overseeing any funeral is to:
• Immediate family only.
• No buffet style serving. Bagged foods only.
• Maintain 6-foot social distancing
• Must mandate everyone to wear a face mask during the services at all times.
• Have hand sanitizer on hand and accessible to all
• Do not shake hands or hug
If anyone is feeling sick please stay home.