COVID-19 Daily News Digest – September 4, 2020
Inclusion, participation of indigenous people must be ensured in Covid-19 response: UN chief
“In the face of such threats, indigenous peoples have demonstrated extraordinary resilience,” Guterres said, urging countries to marshal the resources to respond to their needs, honor their contributions and respect their inalienable rights. Indigenous peoples must be consulted in all efforts to build back stronger and recover better, he added, noting that from the outset of the global pandemic, UN agencies have been working to uphold indigenous peoples’ rights.
Canada and Ontario Invest in Affordable Housing in Sault Ste. Marie
The development transforms the former St. Bernadette Catholic School, at 462 McNabb Street, into an affordable housing complex to support Indigenous women and children who are at risk of homelessness. The development is supported by the Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound program run through the Friendship Centre in Sault Ste Marie. Onsite child and family care is provided by Waabinong Head Start and Family Resource Centre. Homeward Bound provides independent affordable housing along with services and supports including child care, life skills, assistance in obtaining a post-secondary education, employment mentoring through an industry council and transition to independence.
OPINION: Tribal colleges, lifeline to rural and disenfranchised Native communities, need our help more than ever
As we work towards an inclusive national recovery, we must remember that the nation’s 37 TCUs are more than educational institutions – they are community and intellectual hubs, and critical avenues of support and opportunity for the nearly 100,000 students they serve. Their multifaceted missions are enduring and essential; these institutions are focused on increasing college attainment for Native Americans, nation-building and counteracting the deleterious and lasting effects government-forced assimilation.
COVID-19 pandemic puts spotlight on B.C.’s ‘digital divide’
“You take stuff like this for granted,” Sellars said of the high-speed internet. “But you have all these rural communities that are now struggling to keep up, struggling to operate at the speed of business, struggling to get the proper health to their members.”
Indigenous communities collaborate with SD #6 on back to school plans
“We shared our Back to School plan with our Indigenous partners and met with them to discuss the plan,” Karen Shipka, superintendent of SD6 said in an e-mail to the Pioneer. “They had questions regarding masks and cohort size and we were able to clarify the protocols that were in the plan. At this point we are returning to full class instruction with learning groups as articulated in the plan. There was no request for online or at home learning from our Indigenous partners at this point.” While the SD6 administration expects this fall will have a different tone than previous school years, the staff plans to be flexible so that it can navigate daily operations while adhering to the latest provincial safety measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.
Indigenous Food Circle kicks off workshops to guide back to food sovereignty and self-determined food systems
“What we’re trying to do as a health unit is reaching out to see where we can support and help them kind of guide their own way back to that food sovereignty and self-determined food systems,” Ho says. “[The fish emulsion workshop] was extremely interesting — personally I’ve never seen it before. It was an opportunity to showcase what was done in the past and perhaps moving forward how can we return some aspect of food sovereignty back to those communities.”
Liberals and Conservatives both say they’ll stop using COVID-19 wage subsidy
Liberal party spokesman Braeden Caley says his party stopped accepting the wage subsidy at the end of August, now that fundraising has stabilized. Conservative MP Peter Kent says in a Facebook post that not only have the Tories stopped taking the subsidy, they’ll repay what they’ve received under the program. The New Democrats say they will continue using the subsidy.
StrongHearts Native Helpline scales to address “a crisis within a crisis”
“We’re alarmed by trends in domestic violence across the country during the pandemic. It’s a crisis within a crisis,” Lori Jump, director of StrongHearts Native Helpline, said. “Tribal communities are acutely impacted by this issue. Our organization is working to reach out to our relatives in Indian Country with advocates who understand their experience in a personal and authentic way.”
1,500 academics prod feds to move on MMIWG action plan
Bennett has said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the preparation of the action plan.
But Vivian Jimenez-Estrada, a Mayan from Guatemala and the department chair of sociology at Algoma University, said the government could still be prioritizing justice for Indigenous women and girls.
“I don’t believe that COVID is really an excuse to not address the issues of underfunding,” Jimenez-Estrada said.
Vancouver Island First Nations council calls on B.C. to act after first COVID-19 case on reserve
“When the province opened to Stage 3 without our consent, the numbers of new COVID cases have tripled and even quadrupled daily and we knew it was a matter of time before one of our on-reserve members contracted the virus. Premier John Horgan and Minister Scott Fraser must mandate the tables we have set up so we can find immediate solutions to protect our members. We must not wait any longer and certainly do not want an outbreak in our communities before the province reacts,” said Sayers.
Government of Canada investment brings fish and seafood surplus food to Indigenous communities
The innovative Surplus Food Rescue Program is a $50 million federal initiative designed to address urgent, high volume, highly perishable surplus products falling under horticulture, meat and fish and seafood. More than $15.5 million has been allocated for the fish and seafood industry. This means 2.6 million pounds of fish and seafood, including walleye, salmon, tuna sole and pollock, scallops, and blue mussels will be purchased and distributed to families and organizations across Canada.