Over 8,000 Indigenous people now vaccinated against COVID-19 in Northern Ontario

February 20, 2021

More than 8,000 Indigenous people in First Nations communities in Northern Ontario have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the provincial health ministry.


Many Indigenous communities seeing success during vaccine rollout despite unique challenges

February 19, 2021

If Canada’s Indigenous population was its own nation, it would rank five spots ahead of Canada on Bloomberg’s world vaccine tracker, which compares countries based on how many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered per 100 people.


COVID-19: What you need to know for February 22

February 22, 2021

Per today’s government report, there are 1,087 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 293,086 since the pandemic began; 660 people are in hospital, 277 of them in intensive care, and 181 on ventilators. To date, 6,861 people have died.



Fort William First Nation reports COVID-19 case

February 21, 2021

Fort William First Nation has reported a new case of COVID-19 in the community. CEO Michael Pelletier confirmed the news in a notice to the community issued Friday. It’s the only active case confirmed in the First Nation, he said, with two other cases announced earlier this month now resolved.


Nine new cases of COVID-19 reported; two in the Sioux Lookout region

February 20, 2021

The Northwestern Health Unit has reported nine new cases of COVID-19 across the district, marking the sixth straight day at least one case has been reported in the region. Seven of the cases are in the Kenora region and two are in the Sioux Lookout region.



61 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Thunder Bay district on the weekend

February 21, 2021

Sixty-one new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the Thunder Bay district on the weekend. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) announced 32 of the cases on Saturday, and 29 on Sunday.


Six Nations band members can soon preregister for COVID-19 vaccine

February 19, 2021

Six Nations of the Grand River is preparing to sign up band members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, while joining forces with other First Nations communities in Ontario to push for more doses.


Frustrated Walpole Island First Nation wants governments to fulfill vaccine priority promises

February 21, 2021

A First Nation community in Lambton County says governments are failing to provide it with vaccines doses in a timely manner, despite Indigenous communities being listed as a priority group under the province’s vaccine rollout plan.


AIAI Podcast: Our Stories – Residential Schools

February 21, 2021

In this episodes Grand Chief Joel Abram speaks about Residential Schools and cohost Ira Timothy Interviews Faye Jacobs, a family friend that was at the Mohawk Institute Residential School and his uncle who was also taken to a Residential School up north.


Provinces are urged to consider urban Indigenous residents as priorities for vaccine roll-out

February 19, 2021

“We’ve been having a lot of questions like: why urban Indigenous?” said Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC),  Formsma, who then answered the question with “the same co-morbidities that exist on reserve, exist in the urban centres.”


Connecting Indigenous communities with culturally-relevant COVID-19 vaccine information

February 20, 2021

On February 4, 2021,  Maad’ookiing Mshkiki – Sharing Medicine launched, a virtual hub that provides culturally-relevant and trauma-informed information about COVID-19 vaccinations for First Nations, Inuit and Métis.



Examining Canada’s First Nations Water Operators (Video)

February 22, 2021

A year-long investigation has taken a deep dive into the impact of federal policy on the drinking water crisis faced by many First Nations in Canada.


Overworked, underpaid: Ottawa’s chronic underfunding leaves Indigenous water operators behind

February 21, 2021

Gregg Brewer doesn’t have the luxury of turning his phone off. His office, an ageing water treatment plant in Tobique First Nation, lies just a few hundred feet from the banks of the St. John River, about two hours northeast of Fredericton, N.B.


‘People are crying on the phone’: Indigenous communities grapple with PPE shortages

February 21, 2021

A grass-roots organization based out of Ottawa has shipped more than 1.5 million pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Indigenous communities in provinces across Canada, highlighting the need for additional supports in remote parts of the country.


Brother of Stacy DeBungee hopes police disciplinary proceedings will lead to answers

February 22, 2021

The brother of Stacy DeBungee says he hopes upcoming disciplinary proceedings for three Thunder Bay police officers involved in what was found to be a deficient sudden death investigation will produce long-awaited answers.


This Indigenous-led task force is advocating for systemic change in Sault Ste. Marie

February 20, 2021

A pair of new billboards along Highway 17 outside of Sault Ste. Marie intended to shed light on violence against Indigenous women are the result of one collective effort to raise awareness in the region.


Crisis in northern Ontario nursing stations: Health workers sound the alarm

February 19, 2021

On any given day in Sachigo Lake First Nation, there are often only two nurses at the local nursing station, says Ben Langer, a resident doctor who visits for a week each month.



‘It’s quite a thing’: Kettle and Stony Point First Nation get first in series of modular homes for freezing members

February 20, 2021

After many delays, the anticipation of his new home has fueled Pierre George’s emotions. “It’s just quite a thing put it that way, I’ve lasted all these years here just, living, freezing, doing whatever eh, now I’m coming in out of the deep freeze,” he says.



Indigenous lawyer panel inspires the next generation lawyers

February 22, 2021

The law school experiences of four Indigenous lawyers were recently featured during a National Advocates for Indigenous Law Students virtual panel discussion on Feb. 2.



Reserve indicates it has business friendly approach

February 21, 2021

Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation (BNFN) is signalling a pro-business outlook to industry groups and mineral prospectors as it continues to negotiate its land claim with the federal and provincial governments.



Temagami First Nation pictograph finally returns home

February 20, 2021

A 25-year-long search for a historically significant pictograph missing since the mid-1970s is finally over. Robin Koistinen, the director of lands and resources for Temagami First Nation, says she’s been looking for the 300-pound rock painting that features three mysterious figures since it was removed from the Matabitchuan River in northeastern Ontario.


Travel Restrictions lifted for Garden River First Nation

February 19, 2021

The Highway 17B Corridor will be reopened to the public for access through the Garden River First Nation at 12:01AM on February 17th, 2021. The checkpoint on Syrette Lake Rd will be removed and no persons entering the community will be subject to any COVID-19 screening questions.


Whitefish River implements zero tolerance drug trafficking policy

February 19, 2021

The Whitefish River First Nation band council has implemented a zero-tolerance policy in regards to illegal drug trafficking in the community.


Island hoop dancer places third at 2021 world championships

February 19, 2021

Whether it is in person, or this year virtually, you can count on Celina Cada-Matasawagon to take part in the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest, and faring extremely well in the competition—a trend she continued with this year’s event.


A sin tax on sugary drinks unfairly targets Indigenous communities instead of improving health

February 21, 2021

“Sin taxes” are a tried, although not necessarily true, strategy for reducing harm connected to alcohol and tobacco. Calls for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages are supported by a large body of evidence linking weight gain and Type 2 diabetes, to excess consumption of these drinks.



Montreal publisher launches online campaign to add Cree to Google’s translation software

February 21, 2021

Montreal-based publisher Joseph John wanted his comic book “Citizen Canada” to reflect the country’s diverse history by having the titular hero speak English, French and Cree.


Bad Water Sickens First Nations. But Government Doesn’t Track the Toll

February 21, 2021

The true toll of the water crisis in First Nations communities across Canada can’t be known because the government has failed to track and study water-related illnesses.


Report: Lifespan of First Nations water infrastructure cut short by underfunding

February 22, 2021

The federal government has acknowledged for at least 13 years that the maintenance of First Nations’ water and wastewater infrastructure is underfunded. Despite additional  investments made in the last two years, the policy changes long promised by Ottawa have been slow to materialize.


Opinion: How the media is whitewashing white supremacy

February 20, 2021

It is not an overstatement to suggest that now, more than ever, we have become aware of the racism which has and continues to infect our society.



Nine Algonquin nations reject Ottawa land project labeled as ‘reconciliation’ effort

February 20, 2021

Nine Algonquin First Nations in Quebec are considering litigation to stop Ottawa from allowing another Algonquin group to build a new suburb on the outskirts of the city.



Efforts to address climate change must include Indigenous leaders: Report

February 21, 2021

A Climate Action Team report suggested that any efforts to address climate change must include Indigenous leadership and ensure free, prior and informed consent.



‘Spirits are lifted’ as military assesses need in Pimicikamak, chief says

February 20, 2021

For the first time in weeks, relief is spreading throughout a northern Manitoba First Nation dealing with an onslaught of COVID-19 cases. Pimicikamak Chief David Monias’ call for help arrived by plane on Friday. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are now on the ground to assess what’s needed as the community struggles to contain the concerning outbreak.



While only 10% of the population, First Nations account for nearly 70% of Manitoba’s COVID-19 cases

February 19, 2021

The pandemic’s wrath is still disproportionately affecting First Nations people in Manitoba, who now account for two-thirds of all active COVID-19 infections in the province. Manitoba has 788 active cases involving First Nations people, amounting to 67 per cent of all cases, the province’s First Nations COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team reported on Friday.


For Mi’kmaw educator Marie Battiste, inner growth is essential to be a leader

February 21, 2021

Marie Battiste is a Mi’kmaw educator, researcher, author, speaker and now retired professor from the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Battiste is an honorary officer of the Order of Canada, a fellow of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Standup comedian and mother team up for Anishinaabemowin lessons in new podcast

February 21, 2021

A new lighthearted podcast by standup comedian Paul Rabliauskas and his mom invites people to listen and learn as she tries to teach him the family’s language — Anishinaabemowin. “It’s beautiful working with my mom, because she knows me and she knows she needs to have patience with me,” said Rabliauskas.


Saskatchewan First Nation erects blockade after company enters territory without consent

February 21, 2021

A northern Saskatchewan First Nation blockaded a road and issued a cease-and-desist order against a Toronto uranium company. Birch Narrows Dene Nation officials say they took action after workers with Baselode Energy Corp. started surveying the band’s traditional territory without consent.


Sister says Kimberly Squirrel not dressed for Sask. winter after release from provincial jail

February 22, 2021

Angela Squirrel says when she saw her older sister on the streets of Saskatoon on the same day as her release from Pine Grove Correctional Centre, the 34-year-old mother of six wasn’t prepared for the city’s well-known winter weather.


Point of View: In grieving the loss of stand-up comedy, I found I could grieve other losses with humour

February 20, 2021

I had been pursuing stand-up comedy for over three years when the COVID-19 pandemic brought that to a halt, at least in a traditional sense. Us comedians have had to get creative in reaching audiences this past year. I found myself performing in backyards, a buddy’s shop, on Zoom — but even I couldn’t have predicted doing a tight five at a family funeral.


Indigenous-run tiny house community aims to offer ‘protection, security’ to Winnipeg’s homeless

February 22, 2021

Ryan Ednie spends most nights outside of Winnipeg’s Thunderbird House sleeping by a fire. The Métis man, who has been homeless for over a year, says this is where he feels most safe. “I do what I need to survive. I avoid shelters because I’m not comfortable in them,” he said.


Residents at assisted living centre in Winnipeg worried about their safety

February 19, 2021

Residents who live at the KekiNan Centre, an assisted living facility in the North End of Winnipeg, say they are concerned with tenant deaths, theft and crime.


Point of view: Fighting addiction, going to school, healing trauma in lockdown

February 20, 2021

My name is Jeremy Raven. I am 36 years old and was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I needed to change my lifestyle so I looked at my options and started searching for ways of getting the help I so desperately needed. I signed up for a program that dealt with childhood traumas, enrolled in counselling sessions and started doing the work.


Indigenous services minister ‘alarmed’ by allegations about construction practices on First Nations

February 20, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says he was alarmed by revelations of a December investigation into construction practices in on-reserve water projects and said he would like to start collecting information about the performance of contractors working on First Nations infrastructure.



Bill to relax criminal drug penalties will ‘make change in First Nations peoples lives,’ says Sask. chief

February 19, 2021

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand says he was “overjoyed” to hear the federal government announce a new bill to relax penalties for drug offences. “I’m very thankful,” Arcand said. “It’s going to make change in First Nations peoples lives.”



Cape Breton First Nation addresses housing shortage with help from federal funding

February 19, 2021

When Chief Annie Bernard-Daisley was elected to lead her community of We’koqma’q First Nation in October 2020, she knew housing would be a priority for her.


‘Everybody sees her exactly as a girl’: 9-year-old Sask. girl embraces identity through makeup, ribbon skirts

February 21, 2021

Reece Okemaysim was only four years old when she told her mother that she wanted to be a girl. Up until then, Reece, now nine, was raised as one of seven boys to their single mother, Rozanna Seeseequasis, in Beardy’s and Okemasis Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.


Bradley Barton found guilty of manslaughter in death of Cindy Gladue

February 20, 2021

The man accused of fatally injuring Cindy Gladue inside a west Edmonton hotel suite nearly 10 years ago has been found guilty of manslaughter. It took the 11-person jury about nine hours Friday to convict Bradley Barton, 52, in Gladue’s death.


Drive-thru REDress event held in honour of missing and murdered Blood Tribe members

February 20, 2021

The Kainai Wellness Centre put together a physically-distanced event in Stand Off on Friday to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, men and boys, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Eloise Therien has more on the importance and meaning of the REDress campaign.



Indigenous Screen Office takes a new approach to defining identity

February 20, 2021

Indigenous community and identity is very complicated, says Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) executive director Jesse Wente.



Author Helen Knott Zoom-bombs virtual book club session discussing her memoir

February 20, 2021

It’s not every day that authors drop by a local book club to chat about their work, but Helen Knott, a Dane Zaa and Cree writer based in Fort St. John in northern B.C., did just that last week — virtually, of course.


More Indigenous representation needed in schools

February 19, 2021

The Greater Victoria School District is inviting parents to participate in an equity scan about their experience of the education system.


N.W.T. announces more dates to receive 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine

February 20, 2021

The territory announced dozens of new clinic dates Friday in communities across the N.W.T., where residents can receive their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine — or their first dose, if they missed the clinic’s first visit.


Whitehorse trucking company lawyers up over Yukon First Nations procurement policy

February 20, 2021

A lawyer for a Whitehorse trucking company is questioning the validity of the Yukon government’s First Nations procurement policy, and says legal action may be coming if the government can’t alleviate his client’s concerns.


Yukon antique shop owner stumbles upon historic watershed policy paper ‘Together Today’

February 20, 2021

Council of Yukon First Nations’ (CYFN) Grand Chief Peter Johnston still can’t wrap his head around it. In a bizarre stroke of luck, an original print of the ‘Together Today for our Children Tomorrow’ document has been donated to CYFN – almost 48 years to the day it was presented to the federal government.



Rare earths miner, Indigenous construction companies sign $8-million business contract

February 20, 2021

Cheetah Resources, the company overseeing the Nechalacho rare earths project southeast of Yellowknife, made another significant step toward production by signing a mining services contract with the Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction on Feb. 19.


Prominent First Nation MLA and Elder Darius Elias passes away

February 19, 2021

Prominent First Nation Yukon MLA and Elder Darius Elias has passed away. Elias served for 10 years as an MLA for the Vuntut Gwitchin riding in Old Crow. He went on to become deputy chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, where he retired from politics last year.


‘It allows us to dream and dream big’: Former N.S. woman wins $1M Arctic Inspiration Prize

February 21, 2021

The second time was the charm for Darlene Nuqingaq when it came to winning the Arctic Inspiration Prize.


Chief Of Cherokee Nation Says It’s Time For Jeep To Find Another Name For The Grand Cherokee

February 21, 2021

In a written statement to Car and Driver, Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, has stated that Jeep’s utilization of the Cherokee name is not befitting of the culture, its history, or its goals.



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: https://www.chiefsmeeting.com/coo-health-forum

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 https://www.chiefsmeeting.com/aocc-2021.

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: https://www.chiefsmeeting.com/water-engagement-sessions

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 Chris.Hoyos@coo.org.

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: https://bit.ly/3sjaa10

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: https://bit.ly/3nI8gUh

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: https://www.mediaedgemagazines.com/the-chiefs-of-ontario-coo/oo20/