COVID-19 Daily News Digest – May 20, 2020
Tataskweyak Cree Nation members block highway to Manitoba Hydro project over COVID-19 concerns
“First Nations in Northern Manitoba are extremely concerned with the plans Manitoba Hydro has to bring in people from across Canada and the United States to the Keeyask construction site in a few days from now,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “I am disappointed that despite multiple and ongoing calls for action, Manitoba Hydro continues to ignore the concerns expressed by First Nations.”
Manitoba First Nations add COVID-19 to worries as wildfire season approaches
He said discussions are underway with other jurisdictions on what the response will look if Manitoba brings in firefighting workers and equipment, or needs to export them, to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19.
He said Manitoba will be ready in the event the fire season becomes anything but normal.
“It’s a hard one to predict at this time of year. It really is,” he said.
Navajo Nation Has Highest Covid-19 Infection Rate in the U.S.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez told The Washington Post last week that the Nation had not “one cent” of the $8 billion that was allocated to Native American communities as part of the CARES Act passed in Washington on March 18.
The Navajo Nation has implemented some of the country’s strictest stay-at-home orders. Even essential workers who leave their house must have a documented letter from their manager with a verifiable contact number, as CNN reported.
COVID-19’s Threat To Native Communities
There’s lots of fear in Native communities regarding infectious disease. Consider how tuberculosis and smallpox have historically impacted the population—-this crisis is, understandably, triggering intergenerational trauma. A recent report from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that traumatic experiences leave physical traces in a person’s genes. In other words, PTSD can be inherited. As we work to help forestall the spread of COVID-19, we need to recognize the unique emotional trauma Native nations are experiencing and turn empathy into action.
Mining companies rush to shield indigenous communities from coronavirus
From Australia’s outback to Canada’s Arctic wilderness to the Andes, mining firms have changed rosters to stop outsiders infecting remote communities, paid staff with potential health issues to stay at home and given food to indigenous families so they don’t have to shop in nearby mining towns.
Indigenous group continues blockade over COVID-19 concerns in northern Manitoba
“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in northern Saskatchewan. It only takes one person to infect the community.”
Tataskweyak Chief Doreen Spence said other jurisdictions have placed resource development projects on hold until the risk of COVID-19 passes. War Lake First Nation Chief Betsy Kennedy added that allowing hundreds of people to travel to the site contradicts public health orders and puts First Nations at a significantly higher risk.
Brazilian Doctors Medevac Indigenous COVID-19 Cases to Amazon City
“Sometimes we don’t get there in time, because we cannot land at night on remote airfields that have no lights,” he said as he returned to the city of Manaus with a 26-year-old man of the Tikuna tribe, who was breathing through an oxygen tank aboard the plane. Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas, has some of the only intensive care units in the region