COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: active cases in First Nations continue downward trend

February 17, 2021

Active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities are continuing on a downward trend, though new infections persist. Indigenous Services data shows, as of Feb. 15, more than 400 new infections compared to the week before. The highest number of those new cases, 149, were reported out of British Columbia.

Indigenous Services news conference on COVID-19

February 17, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, Valerie Gideon, associate deputy minister of indigenous services, and Dr. Tom Wong, chief medical officer of public health, hold a news conference to provide an update on coronavirus disease.

Ontario sees 1,868 COVID-19 cases over 2 days as stay-at-home order lifts in some areas

February 16, 2021

Ontario is reporting 1,868 new cases of COVID-19 from the last two days, while a stay-at-home order that had been in place since last month has been lifted in most parts of the province.


Canadian Rangers support Ginoogaming First Nation amidst outbreak, extreme cold

February 16, 2021

A small group of Canadian Rangers wrapped up an operation aiding in COVID-19 crisis management in Ginoogaming First Nation, about 310 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont.

Muskrat Dam at risk of evacuation due to fragile power system

February 16, 2021

An overnight power outage put residents of the remote community of Muskrat Dam First Nation on the verge of an emergency evacuation. The fly-in settlement of about 300 people is located nearly 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

Anishinabek Nation brings connectivity to the forefront of annual Lands, Resources and Economic Development Forum

February 16, 2021

For the fifth year, Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare welcomes member Anishinabek Nation First Nations and citizens, government, industry and academia to the 2021 Lands, Resources and Economic Development Forum: Kina-Gego-Naabadosin: Everything is Connected.

First Nations getting ‘left behind’ on broadband

February 17, 2021

Major issues around internet connectivity in First Nations communities have “really come to light” as a result of COVID-19, Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod told a panel of Anishinabek Nation leaders Tuesday.

Sentencing for man who threw trailer hitch at Indigenous woman to hear statements from victim’s family

February 17, 2021

More than four years after Brayden Bushby threw a trailer hitch from a moving car, striking Barbara Kentner of Wabigoon Lake Ojibway First Nation in the abdomen while she was out for an evening walk with her sister in a residential neighbourhood in Thunder Bay, Ont., family members will have their chance to tell the court how Bushby’s actions have caused harm to them and the broader community.

Millions announced to go towards program to address health and safety of women in Canada

February 16, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $100 million to go towards training and programs to address things from unemployment to the health and safety of women in Canada. The Women and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef says Indigenous women will benefit.


Pikangikum First Nation celebrates the opening of Canada’s first transitional home on a reserve

February 16, 2021

A safe and supportive environment is key to the growth and wellbeing of individuals and families in Canada . The Government of Canada works in partnership with Indigenous peoples, provincial governments and other partners to advance innovative projects that support people and help to build healthy and vibrant communities.


GreenUP: Indigenous Leadership Guiding the Local Sustainable Development Goals

February 17, 2021

In 2015, 193 countries officially adopted the United Nations’ historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Agenda 2030 is a framework of seventeen interconnected goals known as the sustainable development goals (or the SDGs) that communities, like ours, Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, adapt for use in the local context.

Defining what the clauses of UNDRIP mean shouldn’t be left to government

February 16, 2021

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) “is primarily a defensive piece of legislation or policy, whatever you want to call it, and we have to think about our offensive game,” said legal counsel Fred Bellefeuille during the Anishinabek Nation’s 5th Annual Lands, Resources and Economic Development forum.

Canada continues shirking its human rights obligations to First Nations children

February 16, 2021

The federal government has once again proven that legislative initiatives tend to be effective deflections from their ongoing failures to address human rights abuses against Indigenous peoples.

Friendship centres key to reaching urban Indigenous peoples when vaccines roll out, says executive director

February 16, 2021

Friendship centres and other urban Indigenous organizations want provinces and territories on board to ensure that when the COVID-19 vaccines rollout occurs in urban settings it reaches the most vulnerable.

Unconventional awareness campaign aims to build trust for COVID-19 vaccine among Indigenous people

February 16, 2021

There’s a moment in a new COVID-19 informational video published by Women’s College Hospital when it feels as if you’ve been invited into a private family Zoom call.

Wiikwemkoong member heads Guelph Indigenous Environmental Science department

February 17, 2021

Wiikwemkoong band member Dr. Jesse Popp has recently become chair of Indigenous Environmental Sciences at University of Guelph’s Ontario Agricultural College, where she will work on course development, teaching and mentoring students, Indigenous pedagogy and foster opportunities for land-based learning and  as her school prepares to launch its bachelor of Indigenous environmental science and practice (BIESP) program this fall.

Rustic Oracle gains international traction, growing awareness on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls

February 17, 2021

Nish Media’s award-winning dramatic film, Rustic Oracle, about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is gaining recognition internationally with awards and a distribution deal.


Involve Indigenous communities early in mining cycle: Anishnawbe Business Professional Association

February 16, 2021

An Indigenous business organization in northwestern Ontario says the future of the mining sector in the region is bright, but companies need to be sure to involve Indigenous communities in the process.

Collège Boréal pilots accelerated PSW training to address shortage in Kapuskasing

February 16, 2021

Collège Boréal is hoping its pilot program will help address the local shortage of PSWs in the northern Ontario community of Kapuskasing.

Thunder Bay Art Gallery continues to support and highlight Indigenous artists and curators

February 16, 2021

Exhibiting, interpreting and collecting art is a specialized process and the Thunder Bay Art Gallery has amassed an incredible collection of art created by Indigenous artists from across the country and lead the creative world in our isolated corner of Canada.


Debajehmujig Storytellers get dubbing gig

February 17, 2021

When producer Jennifer Podemski of Recloud Studios was casting about for an Indigenous post production collaboration partner with the chops to tackle dubbing of the Ojibwe language challenges of her new 10-part drama series ‘Unsettled,’ her mind immediately went to Debajehmujig Storytellers.

This Mohawk woman has been fighting the feds to get her status for 20 years

February 16, 2021

Cheryl Diane Hutley has been fighting with the federal government for more than 20 years. Her father, her grandmother, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather all had full status and its accompanying benefits under the Indian Act of 1876.


Cree Anishinaabe physician talks medicine, and a need to trust the COVID-19 vaccine

February 16, 2021

At the age of four, Marcia Anderson says she knew that one day, she wanted to become a doctor. Twenty years later, Anderson was the youngest Indigenous graduate from the Faculty of Medicine in Manitoba and the youngest president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.

Endangered or a language in hiding?

February 16, 2021

As Levi Martin reflects on the Nuu-chah-nulth language, he rejects the notion that it is endangered. Despite being one of an estimated 10 remaining fluent speakers within his nation, the Tla-o-qui-aht elder describes it as a “language in hiding.”

Curve Lake resident’s Indigenous status remains in limbo as First Nation disputes registration

February 16, 2021

Curve Lake First Nation is at odds with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) over what the First Nation claims is an error in registration for one of its residents.


Lessons from Pauingassi: How a variant scare at a remote First Nation can better prepare Manitoba

February 17, 2021

In the space of one week, Manitoba bounced around an epidemiological version of a roller-coaster ride, thanks to the real and supposed presence of the COVID-19 variant first found in the U.K.

U.K. variant not prevalent in Manitoba First Nations as originally feared

February 16, 2021

Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba does not have the U.K. variant in their community as they originally feared over the weekend. The community sent seven cases of COVID-19 to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for further testing.

Sask. woman found frozen to death was released from correctional centre 3 days earlier

February 15, 2021

Kimberly Squirrel, a 34-year-old mother of six could have been alive today if her family had been told she was being released from prison in January, according to her sister, Kara Squirrel.

Potlotek First Nation sues Nova Scotia over moderate livelihood fishery

February 17, 2021

The Potlotek First Nation is launching a legal action against the Nova Scotia government over the right to sell seafood harvested through a moderate livelihood fishery. The move comes after Sipekne’katik First Nation filed a similar suit earlier this month.

Close quarters on Pimicikamak Cree Nation at core of COVID-19 spread there, says its chief

February 16, 2021

Chief David Monias of Pimicikamak Cree Nation (PCN) said that the rising COVID-19 cases in the PCN are due to overcrowded housing in their community.

Panel highlights Canada’s failure to meet Indigenous communities’ needs

February 16, 2021

McGill Students for Amnesty International hosted a panel titled “Basic Needs of Indigenous Communities on Turtle Island” on Feb. 13. Panelists Jessica Quijano, a feminist activist working for the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and Tom Deerhouse, an elder facilitator at the First Peoples Justice Centre in Montreal, discussed housing shortages, COVID-19’s impact on pre-existing inequities, and the realities of advocacy work.

Edmonton police criticized for forcing homeless people into extreme cold

February 16, 2021

Edmonton Police Service is being criticized after a video surfaced showing officers removing homeless people from a transit terminal in extreme cold weather.


Alberta targets dollars for oil well reclamation in and around First Nations and Métis settlements

February 16, 2021

The Alberta government is allocating $100 million in funding from the federal government in period six of the Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) to reclaim wells in and around First Nations and Métis Settlements.

On-reserve housing conditions challenge First Nations’ fight against COVID-19

February 16, 2021

Overcrowding and lack of adequate housing has made COVID-19 even more challenging in First Nation communities across B.C. It’s a situation Tl’azt’en First Nation councillor Leslie Aslin is all too familiar with.

All BC First Nations to be vaccinated by end of March: First Nations Health Authority

February 16, 2021

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) expects to vaccinate all First Nations communities by the end of March despite vaccine shortages. So far, 90 First Nations communities out of 203 in B.C. have received the first dose of vaccines.

The Indigenous Scientist Charting the Future of Fisheries, One Salmon at a Time

February 16, 2021

Like most salmon scientists, Andrea Reid spends months each year searching for the iconic fish in salty estuaries and along the silty riverbanks of B.C.’s glacial torrents.

Nuxalk relieved to receive vaccine, after dramatic removal of doses from community

February 17, 2021

A month after Vancouver Coastal Health dramatically removed a vaccine shipment from the Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola, COVID-19 vaccines are arriving back to the Central Coast community this week.

Indigenous housing project rising, literally, from the ashes

February 17, 2021

A little more than three years after a fire destroyed the homes of 27 Indigenous families in East Vancouver, a new vision for the property will soon rise from the ashes. But not without opposition.

Squamish Nation Elder turns to music project to soothe pandemic blues

February 16, 2021

Through difficult times, Squamish Nation Elder, Xwechtaal, Dennis Joseph, has often turned to music to soothe his soul.

Court documents show growing relationship between Baffinland and potential new Inuit organization

February 16, 2021

Court documents filed by protesters who were blocking access to the Baffinland Mary River iron ore site show a growing relationship between the mine and a group of Inuit looking to influence mining activity on North Baffin Island.

Yukon First Nations, Métis Nation of Ontario ask for intervenor status in Vuntut Gwitchin charter case

February 16, 2021

Four parties, including two Yukon First Nations, are asking to be added to a legal battle over a judge’s ruling that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to the Vuntut Gwitchin government.


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: