COVID-19 Daily News Digest – December 10, 2020
Why vaccinating Quebec’s remote Indigenous communities presents a delicate challenge
For one thing, getting a supply of stable vaccine to some areas that are accessible only by air, and then getting people to the vaccination location, requires plenty of advance planning.
That’s why public health officials in Nunavik, which along with the James Bay region has been circled as a specific priority area by the provincial committee that established the criteria for the rollout, aren’t expecting any vaccines in their region before the New Year.
“We want to protect the population from COVID-19 as soon as possible. At the same time we want to … be sure it’s done in partnership with the population and not imposed,” said Dr. Marie Rochette, the chief public health officer for Nunavik. “Our challenge is to go fast but at the same time to take the time to do things well.”
Canadian Armed Forces deployed to Shamattawa amid COVID-19 crisis
“The frontline workers are exhausted. They have exercised everything within their capacity to be able to contain the virus but it’s beyond that now.”
There have been more than 260 confirmed cases in the community, where many live in overcrowded homes allowing the virus to spread easily.
“Once the assessment is completed and decisions have been made between community, provincial and federal authorities about where the CAF may be best utilized, follow-on CAF elements will be deployed to commence additional support activities,” the Department of National Defence said in an email.
Indigenous shelters in Toronto and Montreal call for more emergency warming spaces as winter approaches
“When I see the unprecedented amount of homeless people staying outdoors, it makes me feel sad, disappointed, and frustrated,” said Teekens.
“All it took was the pandemic to show the huge cracks in our social safety net and it is our homeless people who are falling in the cracks.
Algonquin College program aims to provide pandemic job training to Indigenous youth
“For example, several Indigenous communities want to set up food sustainability projects that would make them less reliant on outside sources,” the college said.
“Algonquin College excels at delivering this kind of experiential learning and is excited to play an important role in the federal government’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy,” said Algonquin College President and CEO Claude Brulé. “We are pleased and proud to demonstrate our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation by helping Indigenous youth gain the skills that serve them and their communities.”
The Deadly Impact Of COVID-19 On Indigenous Peoples Is A Direct Outcome Of Environmental Injustices In Canada
The traditional Anishnaabe understanding of environmental justice is the duty and responsibility to protect life and ensure that creation continues. Environmental justice movements address the unequal distributions that hinder all beings’ natural ability to preserve and create life equally. For that to happen, there needs to be an amplification of the voices of the poor, marginalized, and Indigenous people in communities taking on more than their fair share of environmental harms. These harms come in various forms, most prominently in the earth’s defacing by corporations and governments that build factories, pipelines, and toxic waste sites in communities heavily populated by Indigenous people. In the more traditional Indigenous understanding that “violence on our lands is violence on our bodies,” these actions can be seen as direct violence on the populations who inhabit the lands that are consistently ravaged.
COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: total cases on-reserve surpass 5,000
The federal department reported 1,942 active cases on reserve, with 1,082 new cases since last week. The Atlantic region saw its first cases of COVID-19 reported, with two cases reported in Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia.
Outbreaks continued in the Prairies. In Manitoba, First Nations are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, according to Marcia Anderson, a doctor with the Manitoba First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team.
Many questions but few answers as chiefs grill Canada’s political elite during assembly
Miller replied that Ottawa remains committed to providing clean water, even though they’ll miss their March 2021 deadline to end long-term drinking water advisories.
“Closing that infrastructure obviously is key, but also resolving all the issues in and around land, which is such an asset, in a more expedient fashion,” he said. “These are all discussions that have been brought to the fore and become more acute during COVID.”
Miller also discussed the government’s Indigenous child welfare reform law, former Bill C-92. He reiterated that the Liberals are committed to paying children harmed by the underfunded child welfare system on reserves in the Yukon.
Indigenous communities to sit tight and wait for vaccine roll out
Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of the month. This will vaccinate up to 124,500 people as a person has to take two doses for it to be effective.
It’s up to provinces and territories to determine how the doses will be distributed.
So, what does this mean for Indigenous communities – some who have been hit hard during the second wave of the pandemic?
Well, for now Indigenous communities will have to sit tight.
Trudeau keen to move away from the Indian Act and put more power into Indigenous hands
“Everything will be a lot quicker if Ottawa just decided ‘Ok! We’re going to put a few more houses here! We’re going to put this here! We’re going put that there!’ but it would be the wrong things,” Trudeau told the Assembly of First Nations chiefs assembled online for the December meeting.Trudeau said he understands Indigenous Services and Crown Indigenous Relations are “big machines” and their processes are sometimes hard to deal with.
“Everyone is working extremely hard to get beyond the Indian Act to get to a place where you are in control of your own finances and communities and nations get to direct their own futures,” Trudeau said. “That is the goal of reconciliation and that is what we’re working on.”
Canada plans to vaccinate everyone who wants it by the end of 2021
“Our goal is to have Canadians be vaccinated to the greatest degree possible, because again, vaccination saves lives, and it protects us from spread and this is the goal. The goal is that we can deliver vaccines to provinces and territories, that they can immunize Canadians as quickly as we can actually approve and acquire those vaccines, because we’re all looking forward to a faster to normal,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu on Wednesday.
Williams Lake Indigenous Court To Hold Soft Opening Friday
“Prerecorded videos of our Elders getting blanketed in their communities, Chief speeches, as well as the Chief Judge and Attorney General coming in via Zoom live to give their speech so we hope that this sets off our Elders in a good way with our ceremony and prepare them for the next few months to come”.
“We’ve gotten a lot of support from First Nations and Non First Nations, we meet bi-weekly as a planning table that consists of RCMP, Probation, Front line workers, Community Representatives, First Nations Representatives, as well as the ongoing support from our local Judges and Crown Counsel. It’s been a blessing to have that much support and backing on this in this area”.
Vulnerable Communities: How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected Indigenous People in the Russian Arctic?
It is believed that COVID-19 made its way to the Russian North by workers migrating from across Russia and the former Soviet Union to work at the industrial and extractive projects in the Arctic. One example is Russia’s second-largest COVID-19 outbreak in mid-April at the Belokamenka liquefied natural gas plant in Murmansk Oblast. At one point, twenty percent of the 11,000 employees working at the Belokamenka project operated by Novatek, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, were reported to be infected.4)
COVID-19: Hotel Zed Tofino offers free rooms to local First Nations and frontline workers to self-isolate
“We do have a lot of tradespeople staying with us as they work on our hotel and we realized that puts us in a bit of a unique position, some of the other hotels in the area have had to close because of the restrictions,” Dastmalchian said. “We are open, we are keeping a lot of our staff employed and safe and, in talking to some of our friends in the community, we realized there was a need and a bit of a fear around First Nations Elders and frontline workers in general right now. We decided that, because we’re open and we have rooms available, we could be a solution in the community.”
Mr. Premier, you owe the First Nations people of Manitoba an apology
It’s rather odd that the premier purports to know what Indigenous leaders in Manitoba want when he hasn’t even discussed the issue of vaccines, or any issues related to the pandemic, with us.
It’s rare for the premier of Manitoba to meet with us and engage on any issues at all, despite our repeated attempts to get face time with him.
The premier asked to meet with me today, Dec. 8. In response, I asked that he apologize to Indigenous peoples and all Manitobans for his divisive comments. I also asked that he include our First Nations health expert, Dr. Barry Lavallee, in our discussion. His office cancelled the meeting request shortly thereafter.