March 12, 2020, 2:00 p.m. PT
The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) Board of Directors and staff have made the difficult decision, after careful consideration and comprehensive evaluation of currently available information related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, to cancel the 38th Annual Protecting Our Children Conference in Denver, Colorado, scheduled to take place Sunday, March 29–Wednesday, April 1.
NICWA will hold a virtual, amended version of the Protecting Our Children Conference on Monday, March 30–Wednesday, April 1.
Supporting the health and well-being of Native children and families is central to NICWA’s mission, and keeping people safe, especially during these rapidly developing circumstances, is paramount. As the largest national gathering of advocates for American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, we recognize our responsibility to consider the safety of families, tribes, and communities and not convene a large public gathering. Particularly given the history of epidemics in Native populations and use of disease in warfare against Indigenous peoples, the current COVID-19 pandemic has a particular cultural context for us.
We realize that, like us, many of you are disappointed about the cancellation given the outstanding quality of the agenda and speakers who were confirmed to present. We’ll also miss the opportunity to come together in person as a community of professionals to network, learn about the work happening in Native communities across the country, and advance our advocacy.
Please be assured that we will deliver key components of the Protecting Our Children Conference experience to registrants. We are actively working to transition the in-person conference to a virtual conference. We will continue to share updates, including what to expect if you are currently registered as an attendee, exhibitor, or vendor, or are a sponsor. Paid conference registrants will be eligible for a full refund less $150, which will be transferred to registration for the virtual conference. Paid NICWA memberships will be retained. Exhibitors are eligible for a full refund. More information about how to access a refund will be available early next week. If you have not paid for conference registration and would like to attend the virtual Protecting Our Children Conference, more information will be available next week about how to register.
For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the well-being of Native children and families.