- Northern communities installing checkpoints, initiating local lockdowns
This afternoon Pinehouse Administrator Martine Smith announced on a community Facebook page the village was hiring two security night workers. In all, she wrote there would be four people working 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. shifts with one week on, one week off for two months.
“These persons will be security at the checkpoint,” Smith posted. “Licence would be an asset. Training would be an asset. Must be drug-free. Must follow all required safety measures.”
- Treaty 3 grand chief uses Anishinaabemowin to ease COVID-19 anxieties
“I thought by explaining in Ojibway/Anishinaabemowin that it would ease the fear a little bit. I have had some positive feedback so far,” said Francis Kavanaugh.
Kavanaugh is the grand chief of the Grand Council of Treaty #3. He lives in Whitefish Bay First Nation near Kenora, Ont.
In his video posted to Facebook, Kavanaugh encourages people to do their part in preventing COVID-19, including social distancing and good hygiene.
- Advocates call for moratorium on youth aging out of care, Ontario says it’s working to ‘implement solution’
“No young person at this time, in this crisis, should be thrust from supports they have into this maelstrom. To do so is nothing less than cruel,” said Irwin Elman, Ontario’s former child advocate, whose office was shuttered by Premier Doug Ford in early 2019.
Elman said Ford needs to put a moratorium on all kids “aging out” otherwise known as transitioning out of care, which usually happens either at 18 or 21 depending on the type of care the child has received.
- Misrepresenting traditional knowledge during COVID-19 is dangerous
Two Indigenous scholars, Dr Rosalyn LaPier and Abaki Beck, M.P.H. of Blackfoot/Métis heritage, say claims of herbal cures of COVID-19 are dangerous. “Before we share that new post telling us that drinking herbal tea cures COVID-19, consider that sharing misinformation about Indigenous knowledge on social media, especially anything that claims it can prevent, treat or cure COVID-19, is dangerous. It amounts to traditional knowledge malpractice.”
- Mining companies suspend production due to COVID-19
Mining operations in Northwestern Ontario are being curtailed as a precaution because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
- First Nations at higher risk of COVID-19
First Nations people are at a heightened risk when it comes to COVID-19, says a Saddle Lake Cree Nation physician.
The bid to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus has meant a new normal at the reserve’s health centre – from booking appointments to assessing patients; the Saddle Lake Health Centre’s goal is to be effective, as many in the community already have underlying medical conditions.
“For First Nations, it could be twice as worse,” Dr. Nicole Cardinal said. “Because a lot of our community members are sicker than the general population.”
- COVID-19: First Nations leaders call on Trudeau to declare state of emergency
“Historically, First Nations communities have been devastated by pandemics and we must take decisive action now before we see our community and family members fall ill,” said Regional Chief Terry Teegee. “We must heed the lessons of Italy, China and other countries that have felt the brunt of this pandemic.”
“The time for denial and bureaucratic delay about the spread of COVID-19 is over — our communities are in crisis and we are looking for answers and for resources to stop the spread of this horrendous and nightmare pandemic,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs in a statement.
- First Nations Health Authority tailoring its messaging about COVID-19
Michelle Driedger, who is Metis, said she is particularly interested to see what happens when a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 becomes available. Production delays for the H1N1 flu vaccine led to its delivery being prioritized for rural and remote residents, she said, and in Manitoba that meant the province’s public health messaging was aimed at people of Indigenous ancestry.
“The First Nations and Metis citizens that I spoke to were saying, ‘Is it like it’s being tested on us first to make sure it’s safe?’
“There was a great deal of distrust,” said Driedger, pointing to the treatment of Indigenous people in Canada’s residential schools, sanatoriums and hospitals.
The First Nations Health Authority in B.C. is preparing radio ads about COVID-19 that are expected to roll out in the coming days on CFNR, a radio station that broadcasts across central and northern B.C. And Indigenous Services Canada has shared scripts for public health announcements in 17 Indigenous languages and dialects.
- Two Sask. First Nations on lockdown or banning travel to prevent spread of COVID-19
Pelican Narrows, which is part of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, enacted a lockdown on March 21, in effect until further notice. Highway Hotline says travel is banned to Fond Du Lac Denesuline Nation starting March 20. You can travel through but cannot stop or access services.
Peter Ballantyne Chief Peter Beatty said it’s a proactive move on the part of council.
- COVID-19: First Nations Leadership Council demands that Justin Trudeau declare national state of emergency to deal with “nightmare”
In a news release, B.C. Assembly of First Nations regional chief Terry Teegee said decisive action needs to be taken before remote and at-risk First Nations communities are hit hard by the global coronavirus pandemic.
“Prime Minister Trudeau must take immediate and sweeping action to declare a National State of Emergency before the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps through First Nations and vulnerable communities,” Teegee said. “Historically, First Nations communities have been devasted by pandemics and we must take decisive action now before we see our community and family members fall ill. We must heed the lessons of Italy, China and other countries that have felt the brunt of this pandemic.”
- First Nation chief in Saskatchewan makes headlines in U.S. for COVID-19 preparation
In the Esquire article, Charles Pierce wrote that U.S. President Donald Trump could learn from Peigan.
“Consider the comparison. The chief of a First Nations reservation in Saskatchewan sees this coming from months off and prepares to protect his people accordingly, and as well as he can,” wrote Pierce in his March 18 article.
“It’s now the middle of March, and the President of the United States is just getting around to committing the fullness of the government’s power to the fight against the disease that Chief Peigan saw coming in January.”
- Manitoba First Nation declares state of emergency, community on lockdown
Residents of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN), located in Nelson House, have been given notice that the order is in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As part of the state of emergency, the community is on lockdown, with exceptions made for essential services.
The following restrictions are also in effect in the community:
- A ban on non-essential travel in and out of the community went into effect March 22 at 8 p.m., except for those providing essential services, medical workers, utility providers, designated NCN advisors, the chief and council members and for certain medical emergencies;
- Everyone arriving at the roadside check-stop will have to fill out a questionnaire to ensure compliance with the non-essential travel ban;
- All schools and non-essential services have to close;
- A ban on transporting alcohol into NCN lands went into effect on March 20 at 6 p.m.;
- No private or public gatherings of more than 50 people;
- NCN citizens and residents must remain in the community until the chief and council say it’s safe to resume regular activities. NCN residents and citizens can still access their traditional camps by snowmobile unless health officials say to stop; and
- Anyone travelling to a camp by snowmobile has to report to a First Nations safety officer and saying when they are leaving and returning and who they will be in contact with at the camp. They also must agree in writing to limit their visitors to less than 10 people, that there will be no delivery of products at the camp, and that they won’t use routes at the camp to travel to urban areas.
According to a news release if people don’t comply it can result in evictions, banishments, fines, removal of benefits or other penalties.
The order will be reviewed weekly.