COVID-19 Daily News Digest – January 11, 2020
Keeping Indigenous elders safe from COVID-19 a critical part of preserving culture
It is difficult to generalize the significance. Sometimes it is regarded as something to be preserved, and communities are documenting the elders’ information to make sure their knowledge survives after they pass, and can be learned by their descendants. Often, the information is shared through teaching, apprenticeships, and at cultural gatherings. In other communities, cultural sustainability work is something just a few in the community might do that slowly grows over time with more interest. We describe it as lighting a fire with a wet log, and it needs tending and fuel in the form of people willing to take on the responsibility. It means making spaces for it to grow, including it in schools and offices, building its prestige and normalizing it as a part of daily life and raising families immersed in it.
B.C. mayor blasts ‘racist rhetoric’ directed at First Nation amid COVID-19 outbreak
A Vancouver Island mayor posted a blistering open letter after observing what he says is unacceptable racism in his community related to COVID-19.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring took to Facebook Sunday to call out some community members’ response to a COVID outbreak at the Cowichan Tribes First Nation.
According to Siebring, some in the community have called for off-reserve businesses to fire any Cowichan Tribes members.
“That folks, is racism. Plain and simple. And it’s wrong.”
First Nation leaders call on Manitoba govenment to work to improve health, welfare of their peoples following cabinet shuffle
“The new Provincial cabinet members must not only work closely with their Federal counterparts but must also work with First Nations to ensure that all First Nations in Manitoba are protected and immunized during the pandemic,” said the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas in a news release.
“Leaders at all levels must work together in unity on an urgent basis to respond to this issue and my hope is that we will be a part of an improved working relationship with the province as a result of this shuffle,” said Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. Grand Chief Garrison Settee.
Musqueam reserve residents asked to ‘stay in place’ after band confirms first COVID-19 cases
“When our community members found out that they were not feeling well and they went and got tested and they got a positive test back, they went over and above to reach out to their extended family that they may have exposed well before Vancouver Coastal Health to inform them. My hands are up to you,” Sparrow said.
Sparrow also encouraged members to reach out to the nation’s COVID-19 information hotline with any questions, and not to rely on second-hand information.
“If you do hear misinformation, or information that may be going around the reserve, utilize that page (and hotline)… They’re there to give the information you require,” he said.
COVID-19 vaccines arrive in remote First Nations as leaders work to combat hesitancy
The council employs nurses who are among those administering vaccinations so people see a familiar face they know and trust, she said.
Health officials need to work with communities to ensure the COVID-19 vaccination program is culturally appropriate, Charleson said, given the impacts of the residential school system and discrimination in health care as outlined in a recent report by former judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
“There are many people in our communities who our nurses may not have ever seen, because [they] will just never go for help,” Charleson said.
First Nation leaders call on provincial gov’t to work to improve health, welfare of their peoples following cabinet shuffle
With the recent provincial government cabinet shuffle, First Nation leaders are calling on the Manitoba Government to continue working with First Nation leadership to improve the health and welfare of their peoples during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Around 49% of active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba are First Nations citizens, and as of last Tuesday, 105 First Nations citizens have died as a result of the pandemic.
Clean water for First Nations critical during the COVID-19 pandemic: Activists
There are 59 active long-term water advisories in 41 communities across the country, and activists maintain that clean water should be a priority for the federal government, especially during a global pandemic.
“Water is a basic human right, and nobody should have to beg for it. This is wrong, and it’s come to the point where I think it comes down to racism,” said Autumn Peltier, a teenage water-rights activist from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island.
“(Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau promised me personally that he was going to protect the water when I confronted him about his broken promises to my people. I would like to see the government stop making promises they can’t keep.”