COVID-19 Daily News Digest – January 16, 2020
Soos pushes for Niagara “state of emergency”
Soos stresses that the benefit of declaring a state of emergency is that it gives the municipality additional powers with regard to procurement bylaws. It also requires a proper response from the province.
“It’s a good way to inspire the budget debate around the issues, and, of course, there are recent precedents for a state of emergency being called, namely on COVID-19 and climate change.”
UN committee rebukes Canada for failing to get Indigenous Peoples’ consent for industrial projects
The committee is drawing attention to the fact that the lack of free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples in Canada is racial discrimination and needs to be corrected, Lightfoot told The Narwhal.
“CERD is trying to highlight that Canada will not be in compliance with the legally binding human rights treaty it signed until it develops a process that allows Indigenous Peoples to have equal rights of consent, like all other peoples,” said Lightfoot, a citizen of the Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe who is senior adviser to the UBC president on Indigenous affairs.
Matawa chiefs demand province stop all activities affecting land, treaty rights during pandemic
“We felt it was a very heavy burden for our First Nations to concentrate and look at how we can be properly engaged in the [Far North] Act that they’re putting forward, especially in this time of COVID,” he said.
The chiefs council has raised concerns repeatedly throughout the pandemic that the Ford government has proceeded with many changes to legislation and regulations that affect their inherent Aboriginal and treaty rights, as set out by the Canadian constitution and countless Supreme Court decisions.
Chartrand insulted by Pallister’s approach with Métis
Calling Métis an “interest group,” as Premier Brian Pallister did Wednesday after touring the Brandon vaccination site, does not sit well with Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand.
“It’s insulting,” said Chartrand.
When The Brandon Sun asked Pallister to explain the lack of a COVID-19 data sharing agreement with the federation, including the lack of a partnership to ensure Métis are prioritized for vaccines as First Nations have been, he was quick to bristle.
Northern Manitoba continues to be hit hard by COVID-19, with nearly half of 191 new cases
A jump in new COVID-19 cases continued on Friday in northern Manitoba, which reported 84 of the province’s 191 new cases.
That marks the third straight day Manitoba’s Northern Health Region had the largest proportion of the province’s daily new infections. Since Wednesday, confirmed cases have shot up by nearly 300.
Many of those cases are linked to a few small communities that are experiencing outbreaks of the virus. The northwestern town of Lynn Lake, with a population of just under 500, had 121 active COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.
White House working with Indigenous groups to deliver vaccines to Alaska Native tribes
Operation Warp Speed, as the initiative is known, designated vaccine doses for tribes in the same manner as for the Department of Defence, the Veterans Health Administration and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The federal government distributed more than 35,000 doses to Alaska tribes, in addition to 78,000 doses to Alaska’s state government. More than 250,000 doses were dedicated to tribes nationwide through the Indian Health Service.
“It’s something to celebrate,” Alaska Native Health Board CEO Verné Boerner said. “When you embrace tribes and tribal sovereignty, you can bring so much more to the state.”
Kahkewistahaw First Nation security worker’s dance at COVID-19 checkstop goes viral
“I never, ever thought that I would do something like it,” Bitternose said with a laugh, during an interview this week about the video. “The outfit that I had on was just a spur of the moment thing.”
Like many First Nations, Kahkewistahaw has implemented check-in stops at its border during the COVID-19 pandemic to screen people as they come into the community.
Bitternose did the dance as part of the #RezSecurityChallenge, a social media trend that started late last year to inspire people working at COVID-19 checkstops on First Nations.
It can be a tough job, the stops aren’t always welcomed by people coming in.
Bitternose said he was inspired to join the challenge after seeing a security guard from another First Nation dancing in a video. He almost backed down, but went for it.
Vaccine rollout in isolated First Nations a complicated process: Grand Chief
Garrison Settee, whose organization represents 26 First Nations, told 680 CJOB that the north’s geography — with many First Nations located hours from the Thompson, Man., supersite — is a factor.
“Fifteen communities are isolated and they have to be flown in, and some of them have to drive in at least five hours to get to the site,” said Settee.
“Especially when you’re an elder, it’s not an easy thing to go through.”
Alberta’s Indigenous communities hit harder by COVID-19 than any other province
In his latest update, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback told his community that nearly 10 per cent of the 18,000 people living in Maskwacis have caught the virus.
“We’ve had a total case of 1,573 in Maskwacis,” Saddleback said.
The chief believes when Indigenous people become infected by the virus, the outcomes are worse for them than in other communities.
“For whatever reason COVID-19 really goes after Indigenous people really harshly,” Chief Saddleback said. “Off reserve, 86 is the average age we’re losing people, on reserve, unfortunately the average age is 69.”