Seniors over 80, Indigenous adults among next group to receive COVID-19 vaccines

February 14, 2021

Ahead of the expected increase in COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Ontario in the next few weeks, the province has identified the priority groups for Phase One of their vaccine roll out plan.

Northern Ontario First Nations mass vaccination effort well underway

February 15, 2021

More than 2,800 people have been vaccinated in Ontario’s northern First Nations communities since January, bringing assurance to many. It’s an effort spearheaded by the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority and the province’s air ambulance, ORNGE, who’ve organized mass vaccination clinics in Indigenous communities.

Coronavirus: 27 regions in Ontario prepare to move out of stay-at-home order

February 14, 2021

The stay-at-home order is lifting for 27 regions in Ontario on Tuesday. The areas will move back to the province’s colour-coded coronavirus response system.

Ontario reports 1,868 cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths over two days

February 16, 2021

Ontario has released two days worth of provincial COVID-19 data after providing no update on Family Day. On Monday, the province reported 964 cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths. That comes on 30,355 tests. Tuesday’s numbers show 904 cases of COVID-19 after the province completed 27,005 tests.

Warm weather hampering winter road construction again this year, NAN says

February 16, 2021

The deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation says winter roads to northern First Nations are going in late again this year and Derek Fox says he’s worried some communities won’t get all of the supplies they need before the season ends.

Five years after call to add Indigenous rights to citizenship guide, nothing

February 15, 2021

More than five years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the federal government to revise the Canadian citizenship oath and exam guide, newcomers still study a book that contains a single paragraph on residential schools and they take an oath that doesn’t refer to treaties with Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous groups wary but hopeful as consultations start on co-developing distinctions-based health legislation.

February 15, 2021

‘We need transformation of health systems in a way that will respect our treaty, constitutional, and Indigenous and inherent rights, and improve the wellness of our people,’ says AFN Regional Chief Marlene Poitras.

Northern Winter Road Update

February 14, 2021

All travelers are asked to contact the First Nation they are travelling to for the most up to date information on the winter road status prior to traveling, including whether roads are open for travel as temporary closures do take place on the roads, even when at full load capacity.

Heritage fund addressing needs, say stakeholders

February 12, 2021

A provincial program that doles out millions of dollars each year in loans and grants to Northern businesses, municipalities, and community and arts groups has been re-jigged to make it easier to apply and receive funds delivered to qualifying recipients. Reaction to the re-tooling appears to be favourable. In a provincial news release, Nishnawbe Aski Nation grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said the new approach “will directly benefit First Nations.”

Vaccine Clinic Opens In Remote Northern Ontario Despite Power Outage & -36 C Weather

February 12, 2021

Despite treacherous conditions and a power outage, an Ontario vaccine clinic in a remote fly-in community was able to forge ahead despite the obstacles.


Dilico and Lakehead University team up to design app to support Indigenous youth

February 15, 2021

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and Children’s Centre Thunder Bay are collaborating with Aislin Mushquash, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University, to develop and pilot a new JoyPopTM app service.

Wiky elder shares justice award 

February 16, 2021

A Wiikwemkoong elder is being recognized for her commitment to strengthen justice for Indigenous people in Ontario alongside 11 other knowledge keepers who sit on the province’s Elders’ Council.

Huron North Shores launches CIRA speed test for Rural Internet Project

February 13, 2021

Huron Shore and Manitoulin Island Community Owned Fibre Infrastructure Corporation (H&M COFI) has launched an internet performance test webpage through CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) as part of their community internet project.

ORIGIN expands immersive cultural library to include virtual reality experiences

February 16, 2021

ORIGIN is adding a variety of virtual reality (VR) Indigenous cultural experiences to its ImmersiveLink library of 360-degree VR videos designed to bring careers, cultures, workplaces and communities to life.


Indigenous Screen Office establishes Solidarity Fund for BIPOC creators

February 16, 2021

The Indigenous Screen Office is now using its network to help other BIPOC creators through its Solidarity Fund.  “The ISO wanted to stand in support of other racialized creators and we were in a position to offer support like this,” said Jesse Wente, executive director of the ISO.

“Wawahte” Chronicles Injustices Against Native People in Canada

February 15, 2021

When he was nine years old, Robert P. Wells made a sacred promise to his friend, an Anishinabek elder named Moochum Joe, swearing to recount in paper how horribly his kind treated Native people.

First Nation business group seeks to ‘close the gap’ on mine supply

February 14, 2021

Ontario’s mineral development community needs to find ways to be more inclusive in respecting and involving First Nations and Indigenous businesses in mine development. The Anishnawbe Business Professional Association (ABPA) commented on the recently released Mining Readiness Strategy from the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission.


Ontario First Nation fights for compensation for Winnipeg taking water from Shoal Lake

February 15, 2021

A First Nation in Ontario is seeking compensation from the province and the City of Winnipeg for damages resulting from the city taking water from Shoal Lake for the past 100 years.

A ‘first of its kind’ partnership allows for a new vision care program on the James Bay coast

February 14, 2021

Just to get a simple eye appointment for children who live in communities on the James Bay Coast is an expensive and lengthy ordeal. But the Indigenous Children Eye Examination Project–ICEE for short–is going to change that.  It’s a new partnership between McMaster University and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority.

Sault art display honours missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

February 15, 2021

People in Sault Ste. Marie might be noticing a new window art display at a local gallery in the city’s downtown core. The Indigenous Women’s anti-violence task force has set up the display to mark the annual Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls March, which was supposed to take place on Feb. 14.

Missing artifact returns to Temagami

February 15, 2021

A historically-significant artifact depicting three figures has returned home to Temagami First Nation after going missing decades ago.

‘I have brought the MMIW epidemic to the forefront’: The powerful image of a red handprint

February 15, 2021

The powerful image of a red handprint has come to symbolize the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women movement as a way to represent the thousands of women who have been silenced. Beyond politics and detective work, the handprint has found its way into art and fashion as a way to raise awareness.

Feds expect Pfizer to start ramping up vaccine deliveries to Canada this week

February 15, 2021

The Ontario government said Monday it is developing a web portal for booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments, a sign of provinces preparing to ramp up vaccination efforts as manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech increases deliveries.

Ontario Deploys Rapid Tests to More Essential Workplaces and Settings

February 12, 2021

Based on the successful use of rapid tests in select settings across the province the Ontario government is deploying test kits to more essential workplaces and sectors in order to quickly identify and help stop the spread of COVID-19. Rapid tests are now being used in long-term care homes, retirement homes, congregate care settings, First Nations communities and many essential workplaces.

Cree doctor helps clarify misconceptions around COVID-19 vaccine

February 15, 2021

Cree doctor Darlene Kitty is helping to clarify some of the misconceptions about the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine. Dr. Kitty wants to encourage more Quebec Cree to get vaccinated and help protect the most vulnerable people in Cree communities.


Indigenous leaders say it’s time for a First Nation Governor General

February 15, 2021

In the wake of former Governor General Julie Payette’s resignation, many First Nations are calling for her replacement to be a First Nations person.

Indigenous activists decry lack of government action ahead of 11th annual MMIWG2S vigil

February 14, 2021

The press conference comes ahead of the 11th annual Vigil for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans & 2Spirit Relatives, taking place on Sunday, Feb. 14. This vigil aims to “honour the lives and memories of women, children, two-spirit and non-binary people who have been lost to gendered and racist violence.”


Cape Breton entrepreneur plans to expand Slow Cooked Dreams across Canada, targets Indigenous communities

February 15, 2021

Nadine Bernard and her business, Slow Cooked Dreams, are in a much better place than they were 11 months ago. The entrepreneur from We’koqma’q First Nation was preparing to expand her slow cooking workshops to New Brunswick and Ontario when the countrywide COVID-19 lockdown made in-person sessions impossible.

Variants may have spread to two remote First Nations in Manitoba

February 15, 2021

Fears of the new COVID-19 variants are increasing after possible cases emerged in an unlikely place: two remote First Nations communities in Manitoba.

New app created by U of M researchers gives Indigenous people voice during COVID-19 pandemic

February 13, 2021

An app created by University of Manitoba researchers will give Indigenous community members a voice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indigenous man dies in hospital after ‘incident’ at Headingley jail

February 15, 2021

An Indigenous man has died after he had what RCMP are calling an “incident” with corrections officers at Headingley jail. Manitoba RCMP reported that the man, 45, was taken to hospital suffering from life-threatening injuries Sunday, Feb. 7.

Feds should be held accountable for violence against Mi’kmaw fishery: MP

February 12, 2021

The federal NDP fisheries critic says heads need to roll in Ottawa after an APTN News report revealed multiple federal agencies failed to protect Mi’kmaw lobster harvesters from violent vigilante actions officials knew were coming last September.


Grassroots organizations, community come together to support Winnipeg’s homeless

February 12, 2021

Grassroots organizations in Winnipeg are taking action to try and help the city’s homeless keep warm during the region’s cold snap. In recent weeks a cold spell has brought bitterly cold temperatures which can reach below -40 C at night, and those temperatures can kill.

Manitoba First Nation seeking help from United Nations over their lack of clean water

February 13, 2021

Tataskweyak Cree Nation (TCN) in northern Manitoba says it is calling on the United Nations to help pressure the federal government into taking action to fix their drinking water.

The community of 2,300 located about 800 km due north of Winnipeg, has been under a drinking water advisory since 2017, one of many communities throughout Canada that is under a drinking water advisory.

First Nations designed pink t-shirts raising money for charity

February 15, 2021

There is a terrific local option for Pink Shirt Anti-Bullying Day on Feb. 24 and for a great cause too. Angela’s Boutique in Ladner Village is selling “Respect” T-shirts, designed by Haisla-Heiltsuk First Nation artist Mervin Windsor. They sell for $20 and come in adult and youth sizes. All proceeds will be donated to Ingenious-focused ant-violence organizations.

Northern Health says region’s COO will lead review of Kitimat hospital racism complaint

February 12, 2021

Northern Health, which operates the health care system in northern British Columbia, says its chief operating officer for the region will lead an investigation into allegations that a couple from the Haisla Nation was discriminated against at the Kitimat and Terrace hospitals.


COVID-19 vaccinations administered ‘the Ahousaht way’

February 13, 2021

During the first week of 2021, the Ahousaht First Nation saw their whole community vaccinated “the Ahousaht way.” Cultural leaders worked alongside community members and nurses in the remote Nuu-chah-nulth community located on an island north of Tofino, off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

New UBC Indigenous fisheries centre aims to uplift community rights

February 14, 2021

A Nisg̱a’a scholar at the head of a new centre at the University of British Columbia is working to bring attention to the ongoing criminalization of Indigenous fisheries. Scientist Andrea Reid is the principal investigator at the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries, which launched in January.

National Arts Centre to stream MMIWG ‘story of vengeance’ online for national day of action

February 13, 2021

A stage play tackling taboos and harsh realities faced by Indigenous women in Canada is being broadcast online by the National Arts Centre Feb. 14-21, to mark a national day of action for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.


Barred from Baffinland: Temporary injunction against Nuluujaaq Land Guardians extended

February 13, 2021

An injunction barring the Nuluujaaq Land Guardians from the Baffinland Mary River iron ore mine has been extended while Nunavut Justice Sue Cooper reviews submissions from lawyers.


Lawyer for Nunavut blockade calls Baffinland injunction ‘hasty’

February 13, 2021

A lawyer for protesters who blockaded Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River mine for a week says the company’s call for a court injunction is “hasty and premature,” when more negotiations could be done instead.

Liidlii Kue Film Festival highlights need for representation, say northern based filmmakers

February 15, 2021

The Łı́ı́dlı̨ Kų́ e First Nation will be hosting its second annual film festival later this month, showcasing the work of Northern filmmakers and Indigenous stories. The festival, which runs from Feb. 21 to 27, will focus on films based in the Dehcho region.  The CBC short documentary I Hold the Dehcho in My Heart – Sedze Tah Dehcho E’Toh in Dene Zhatie will be shown at the film festival.

Dog blankets aren’t just for sled dogs anymore, meet Rikki

February 14, 2021

A Chihuahua may not be the first choice as a sled dog but seven-year-old Rikki looks ever proud sporting a new beaded dog blanket. It was handmade by his owner Velma Olsen, who is Northern Tutchone and a member of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun in Yukon.


Save the Date: Chiefs of Ontario 15th Annual Health Forum

The Chiefs of Ontario 15th Annual Health Forum will take place on February 23-25, 2021. This year’s theme is Sharing Stories: The True Test of Resilience Amidst Pandemic.

For more information, please visit:

Save the Date: Chiefs of Ontario 47th All Ontario Chiefs Conference 2021

The Chiefs of Ontario and Grand Council Treaty #3 will be hosting the 47th All Ontario Chiefs Conference 2021 on June 15-17, 2021. For more information, please visit

Save the Date: Chiefs of Ontario Engagement Sessions: First Nations Water Legislation

The Chiefs of Ontario Environment Department will be hosting a two-day engagement session on March 3-4, 2021. The focus of the 2-day fulsome engagement sessions includes creation of First Nations-led policies and solutions related to access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water.

For more information, please visit:

Annex 9 Climate Change Modelling Experts Workshop, March 22, 2021

As a follow up from the 2019 Climate Change Modelling Experts Workshop hosted in Ann Arbor, Annex 9 is working with GLISA to host another virtual workshop in March.

For more information, please contact Chris Hoyos at

2021 Great Lakes Day, March 1, 2021

The annual Great Lakes Day features dialogue on Great Lakes priorities by regional leaders and members of Congress who play a critical role in shaping Great Lakes policies.

For more information, click here:

International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) Annual Meeting, May 17-21, 2021

Hosted by Michigan Technological University, the virtual conference will feature four days of scientific sessions and speakers focusing on our theme Bridging: Knowledge, Seven Generations, Land-to-Lake.

For more information and registration, click here:

Contract Opportunity: Research and Knowledge Translation Specialist

The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) is inviting applications for a contract position: Research and Knowledge Translation Specialist

Chiefs of Ontario Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Find Our Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates Here. This website provides information on emergency planning and preparedness, as well as on the unique programs and services that are available to First Nations in Ontario during times of emergency.

Issue 8 of The Official Chiefs of Ontario Magazine, The Advocate is now online! To view, please click here: