COVID-19 Daily News Digest – December 14, 2020
Cuthand: Bellegarde’s term as AFN chief had two chapters
The AFN has a practice of alternating leaders from the treaty areas and the areas where treaties don’t exist, such as British Columbia, or where the treaties are pre-Confederation, such as the Maritimes. This is much like the practice of the Liberal Party selecting a leader from Quebec followed by a leader from the rest of Canada. This time I expect we will see a leader from the non-treaty area voted in as national chief.
I also think that in view of the growing group of women leaders, the time has come for the AFN to elect a woman as the national chief.
In any event, life goes on and time passes, making room for a new generation of leaders.
Death Toll Surpasses 700 on Navajo Nation; Help is on the Way as Pfizer Vaccine Approved by FDA
The much needed vaccine will be administered based on the Centers for Disease Control’s phased distribution plan that calls for health care workers and those living in long-term assisted living facilities to receive the vaccine first, on a volunteer basis. Navajo Area IHS expects to receive its first shipments of the vaccine on Monday and Tuesday, which will be transported to Gallup Indian Medical Center, Chinle IHS, and Northern Navajo Medical Center, followed by other locations that have the equipment to store the Pfizer vaccine at deep freeze temperature.
Squamish Nation’s Mr. Bannock takes part in campaign to help feed those in need
Indigenous chefs across Canada will soon be busy preparing traditional meal kits to distribute to Indigenous families and community members in need this holiday season.
Squamish Nation chef Paul Natrall, who owns the popular Mr. Bannock food truck and catering business, is one of them, and he’s hoping North Vancouver will show a little love to the new campaign he’s a part of.
This month, the Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations launched its Indigenous Feast Boxes GoFundMe campaign to support Indigenous chefs and businesses across Canada with the goal of helping feed Indigenous families and community members in need over the holidays.
18 new COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba as province books first vaccine appointments
The figures come as the province began scheduling vaccinations health-care workers will get after the first doses arrive as early as next week.
Eligible workers were notified on Friday, the province says, and it hopes the first clinic will be operating as soon as Wednesday.
Manitoba says about 900 health-care workers in critical, acute and long-term care units will be first to receive the new Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Manitoba reports 447 new COVID-19 cases, with more than 100 from Shamattawa First Nation
More than 100 of the 447 new cases were confirmations of rapid tests done recently on Shamattawa First Nation, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said at a news conference.
Cases in the fly-in community have skyrocketed, with roughly one in four people infected and members of the Canadian Armed Forces called in to help, Chief Eric Redhead said on Thursday.
While that First Nation has been hit hard in recent weeks, Roussin said, First Nations people living in urban and rural settings have been disproportionately affected by the illness in Manitoba’s second wave.
Quebec government to fund $600,000 for Montreal Indigenous shelter’s relocation
The day shelter’s lease at the corner of St. Catherine and Atwater streets next to Cabot Square — an area home to many homeless Indigenous people that is rapidly being gentrified — is up in April.
Minister of Native Affairs Ian Lafrenière announced the $600,000 in funding on Saturday. Lafrenière said the money comes from the Native Initiatives Fund III.
‘SHE WALKS WITH ME’: Project supporting urban Indigenous pregnant women gets $1.2M
“Birthing in a sacred time. When we bring culture into the experience, mothers can get a better understanding of who they are,” said Dr. Jaime Cidro, Nominated Principal Applicant and Canada Research Chair in Health and Culture on Friday.
“When you have a doula with you, they function as support people who can help mothers navigate through the systemic barriers that exist when they are facing with the healthcare system.”
Batchewana residential school survivor subject of new CBC doc
That was the catalyst for Inendi, a new CBC-funded documentary which sees Fox travel to Batchewana First Nation territory in order to document the story of her auntie, Mary Hill-Bell, who spent nearly a decade in the Spanish Indian Residential Schools which operated between 1913 and 1965 in Spanish, Ont.
“There was this sort of no-excuse attitude, because everything had stopped. I travel almost full-time in my previous work, and I was on the road all the time,” said Fox, a Batchewana First Nation band member who is from Barrie, Ont. “So it felt like I was being handed this incredible gift to have this moment in time to just take it in, tell her story and to do something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time.”
Indigenous inmates, volunteers navigate a year without ceremonies, celebrations
In a typical year, the house is a hub for planning and coordinating cultural programming for Indigenous inmates across Oregon — everything from big annual bashes like powwows to more regular spiritual call-outs like sweat lodge ceremonies. Mid-October is around the time volunteers start winding down a packed summer calendar of events.
All of them were canceled this year due to the coronavirus.
“That was hard,” said Jordan, a registered nurse by trade, “but we recognize that this is a pandemic and it’s important for us to … stay safe and that people in our prisons stay safe.”
First Nations raise alarm as cases mount
“We are deeply concerned by the rise in COVID-19 cases among Indigenous peoples in Manitoba,” states an email from the office of Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.
The minister’s office indicated Sunday Indigenous Services Canada has daily calls with community leadership to ensure First Nations have the infrastructure and medical staff necessary to address an outbreak. Ottawa is ready to provide additional support to Red Sucker Lake as needed, a spokesperson said.
Also Sunday, a provincial spokesperson said in a statement Manitoba is working with federal partners and First Nations leadership to support pandemic efforts in several Indigenous communities.
Manitoba First Nation to allow visits over the holidays
The First Nation noted it will be recording the names and contact information of visitors for tracking purposes, adding that anyone who doesn’t follow community safety guidelines will be removed from the community.
The First Nation asks off-reserve members to pre-register to visit before Dec. 23, and says it will provide people with information on how to screen their family members to make sure visits are as safe as possible.
During Peguis First Nation’s community lockdown there are three-day lockdown periods, followed by two days of what it calls a ‘relaxed lockdown.’
Shamattawa wages war on COVID-19 as cases rise, military deployed
Their arrival comes after Shamattawa Chief Eric Redhead issued a plea for help in late November. With a population of about 1,300 people, it is the hardest-hit Manitoba community of the pandemic, with recent test positivity rates hovering between 70 and 80 per cent.
The first group of soldiers arrived on Dec. 6. The second wave arrived Sunday night, bringing the total number to just under 60.
The troops will do wellness checks, deliver food hampers and conduct contact tracing. They will also help to relieve people like Canabie and watch over the makeshift isolation centre. In a bid to halt the spread of the illness, those who have tested positive and can’t isolate at home properly have been asked to go to the school.
Red Sucker Lake First Nation ‘panicking’ after 18 households test positive for COVID-19: chief
Knott said in the release that the community’s leadership is worried housing shortages and overcrowding in Red Sucker Lake will become a concern without more testing capacity in the community of about 1,000.
At this point, there’s only enough capacity to test one person per household, he said.
“We’re running out of options now. We need immediate support. I’m calling out to any resources who can help us to mitigate the crisis,” he said.
Cree video game streamers create space for Indigenous gaming community
Merasty-Moose is Cree from O Pipon Na Piwin Cree Nation (South Indian Lake) in Manitoba and is the content creator and founder of Moose Tree Gaming.
Almost every day thousands of people are tuning into his streams, hearing rez humour and battling it out for bragging rights on games like Call of Duty’s Warzone.
Although a good portion of the people who follow his account are other Indigenous gamers from across North America, Merasty-Moose said there is a large number of non-Indigenous people watching and learning as well.
“A lot of the stuff is the same [as mainstream content creators], but a lot of it is opportunities where we can share about our culture, and where we’re from,” he said.