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Makah Tribe's early shelter in place order may seem extreme, but it's working

The Makah Tribe was the first community in the state to shut down and has isolated its small population since March 16.

Its geography, with only one road in and out of the community near Neah Bay, has allowed it to keep close tabs on travel to and from the reservation, which is located at the far northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula. Officers at a checkpoint keep tabs on all travel; non-residents are not allowed in.

The strategy has worked so far. The tribe has no reported cases of COVID-19. And the Makah tribal council just extended the order until June 30. 

In this story, we hear from three Makahs about what life there is like now, behind the barricades: the tribe’s chairman TJ Green, master basket weaver and tribal elder Melissa Peterson, and commercial fisherman Quentin Vitalis.  

News Makah Indian ReservationCoronavirus CoverageCOVID-19
Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to