COVID-19 cases declining in Indigenous communities: minister

February 24, 2021

COVID-19 infections continue to decline in Indigenous communities across Canada even as the federal government is bracing for outbreaks of more contageous variants of concern, Indigenous Services Marc Miller said Wednesday.

Ontario records more than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases, 23 deaths

February 25, 2021

Ontario is recording more than 1,100 new COVID-19 cases, as well as 23 more deaths linked to the disease. On Thursday, provincial health officials logged 1,138 infections of the novel coronavirus, marking a slight increase from the 1,054 cases recorded on Wednesday.

Neskantaga First Nation issues state of emergency for members off reserve

February 24, 2021

The Neskantaga First Nation has declared a state of emergency because members living off reserve are contracting the COVID-19 virus. Neskantaga is a remote Oji-Cree community on Attawapiskat Lake approximately 430 kms north of Thunder Bay.

‘Our people are tired’: Neskantaga declares state of emergency with 12 off-reserve members positive for COVID

February 24, 2021

A state of emergency has been declared by Neskantaga First Nation after a number of its members living off-reserve tested positive for COVID-19.

Ford must act now to help Neskantaga with COVID state of emergency: NDP

February 25, 2021

The Ford government has allowed the virus to spread in Thunder Bay and must now act to stop an outbreak affecting Neskantaga First Nation that declared a state of emergency to deal with an infection rate of 6 per cent of off-reserve members, said NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa

Nipissing First Nation chief relieved after COVID-19 vaccination program gets underway

February 25, 2021

The chief of Nipissing First Nation, west of North Bay, said that he and his community breathed a collective sigh of relief as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout got underway on the territory.

Six Nations Vaccine Priority Matrix Approved, Vaccine Registration Now Open

February 24, 2021

At a Special Council meeting on Friday, February 19, the Six Nations Elected Council approved the Six Nations Vaccine Priority Matrix.

Path to vaccinate urban Indigenous runs through provinces: Miller

February 24, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa.

Indigenous services minister flags racist treatment in Kenora

February 24, 2021

The northwestern Ontario community of Kenora is coming under increasing scrutiny over reports of discrimination and racist treatment of members of a First Nation isolating there due to a major COVID-19 outbreak.

Baseless Facebook posts about Wabaseemoong COVID-19 outbreak a symptom of wider racism, say community members

February 25, 2021

Recent social media posts spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations are not only false, but they are creating fear and mistrust in the nearby city of Kenora, Ont., and surrounding areas, according to Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders in the region.

Officials say no confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants detected in First Nations communities on reserve

February 24, 2021

Dr. Tom Wong, chief medical officer of public health for Indigenous Services Canada, said on Wednesday that so far no confirmed cases of any of the COVID-19 virus variants have been detected in First Nations communities on reserve, but cautioned it was “just a matter of time.”

Indigenous Services minister says more needs to be done on First Nations water operator wages on reserve

February 24, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller addressed a question regarding whether the government had considered securing proper pay and wages for First Nations water operators on reserve, saying he acknowledged it was not fair that those on reserve earned low wages, sometimes less than half of their counterparts off reserve.

Indigenous Services braces for audit of department’s efforts to supply First Nations with clean water

February 24, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller sat down at a news conference on Wednesday, took off his mask and gulped from a tall, crystal-clear glass of H2O.

‘Not an honest effort’: First Nations leaders say water infrastructure must account for climate change

February 25, 2021

In 2014, Mitaanjigamiing First Nation, on the edge of Rainy Lake in northwestern Ontario, declared a state of emergency when high water levels led to flooding that threatened some of its infrastructure, including the only access road in and out of the community. Sandbagging helped to limit the damage.

COVID-19 tents, shacks turn into homes in First Nation facing housing crisis

February 25, 2021

Four canvas walls reinforced with plywood and two-by-fours, along with a few blankets and a wood stove, are Andrew Missewace and his puppy Niska’s only defence against the bitter cold of northwestern Ontario, even when the temperature drops as low as –48 C. But after waiting 13 years for a home in Eabametoong First Nation, Missewace needed a place to call his own.

First Nation using isolation tents as housing (Video)

February 25, 2021

A First Nations community in northern Ontario set up tents to help isolate and quarantine cases of COVID-19. But a housing shortage has some people turning them into permanent homes, even without power or running water.

Marc Miller responds to Eabametoong housing crisis

February 25, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Associate Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services Canada Valerie Gideon address the housing shortage in Eabametoong First Nation, where people are turning isolation tents into homes.

Ontario NDP – Parliamentary Budget Officer Report Says Indigenous Children Shortchanged $15 Billion

February 25, 2021

NDP critics Sol Mamakwa (Indigenous and Treaty Relations) and Teresa Armstrong (Children and Youth Services) issued the following statement after the Parliamentary Budget Office released their report on Tuesday that showed hundreds of thousands of First Nations children are eligible for up to $15 billion in compensation due ​to delay and denial of government services.


Land claim settlement payment being distributed at Aamjiwnaang

February 25, 2021

A settlement payment for a 168-year-old land claim has been received by Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The Government of Canada agreed to pay $35,728,354 to Aamjiwnaang and the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nations last year, as compensation for the misuse of funds from the sale of lands in 1853.

This former residential school is now a centre for reconciliation

February 24, 2021

It has taken more than a century – one that saw abuse of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and a colonial mindset rooted in racial prejudice – but the vision of an Indigenous leader who believed in peace and harmony is becoming a reality.

Garden River First Nation cousins win $5,000 in Hack-a-thon competition

February 21, 2021

Some recent late nights paid off for three members of Garden River First Nation. Chris Seymour, Aaron Jones and Megan Young, who are all first cousins, took the top prize at the recent Hack-a-thon event, which was held in conjunction with the Indigenous Clean Energy E-Gathering.

First Nations’ economic advancements pushed down by overt and systemic racism

February 24, 2021

Racism, discrimination, sexism and stereotyping all contribute to holding back First Nation entrepreneurs as they strive to make advances through economic development.

Fashion designer Leslie Hampton apologizes for triggering MMIWG families

February 24, 2021

A collection meant to represent MMIWG2S, created by Anishinaabe Mohawk fashion designer Lesley Hampton has sparked outrage on social media.

Protest over Magnetawan First Nation election delay planned for Thursday

February 25, 2021

A protest march is set to be held on Magnetawan First Nation north of Parry Sound Thursday morning by residents who are upset that the election for chief and council has been delayed for six months due to COVID-19.

Feds need plan to vaccinate urban Indigenous people, friendship centres say

February 24, 2021

As many Indigenous people who live in urban areas are left unsure how they will be vaccinated against COVID-19, an organization that serves them is calling on Ottawa to allocate vaccine shots for them.


Pink Shirt Day: Kahnawake participates in anti-bullying campaign in memory of teenage girl

February 24, 2021

When students, teachers, and community members across Kahnawake, Que., came together on Wednesday wearing bright pink shirts and a message to “be kind,” one teenage girl, Lexi Fox, was on the minds of many.

Caribou harvest in northern Quebec a worry for Cree

February 25, 2021

A community caribou hunt organized in northern Quebec by some Innu hunters from Matimekush-Lac John, near Schefferville, Que., has some Chisasibi tallymen and Cree government officials worried.

Grand Chief’s letter to Premier Pallister: Continued collaboration needed in fight against COVID-19

February 25, 2021

Dear Premier Pallister, I am writing today to express the continued need for the Province of Manitoba to work closely with representatives from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. in the continued fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

First Mi’kmaw COVID-19 vaccine clinic opens in Nova Scotia

February 25, 2021

The first COVID-19 vaccine clinic in a Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw community has begun administering shots. The clinic in Millbrook First Nation, which launched Wednesday, will serve as a prototype for the other 12 Mi’kmaw communities around the province.

Watchdog report on RCMP’s investigation of Colten Boushie shooting due next month

February 25, 2021

The results of an independent probe into how the Saskatchewan RCMP handled its investigation of the Colten Boushie shooting is finally poised for release next month, after a three-year wait.

5 years later, family of Lorlene Bone not giving up search for missing Manitoba woman

February 25, 2021

Every time Evelyn Chartrand looks out her front window, she sees a red dress waving in the wind. That dress is a reminder that her daughter, Lorlene Bone, is still missing.

Eskasoni developing its own moderate livelihood plan, starting with lobster

February 25, 2021

Atlantic Canada’s largest Mi’kmaw community is preparing to launch a moderate livelihood fishery that will focus first on lobster. Fish harvesters met this week in Eskasoni First Nation to discuss the development of a plan, with fishing to begin later this spring.

Talented Indigenous musicians now have a record label to call their own

February 25, 2021

Three years ago, when Tobique First Nation musician Jeremy Dutcher accepted the Polaris Music Prize, an award recognizing the best Canadian album of the year, he declared: “Canada, you are in the midst of an Indigenous renaissance.”


First Nations people in Manitoba over age of 75 now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines

February 24, 2021

The province has opened up vaccine eligibility to include any First Nations person in Manitoba over the age of 75.

Sask. First Nations rally behind northern community in dispute with uranium company

February 24, 2021

Saskatchewan First Nations are rallying behind the Birch Narrows Dene Nation in its dispute with the provincial government and a uranium exploration company.

Incident involving conservation officer, treaty hunter sparks FSIN concerns of systemic racism

February 24, 2021

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations (FSIN) has stated it’s concerned with ‘systemic racism’ in the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment’s Conservation Field Services. It comes after another reported incident involving a treaty hunter and a Saskatchewan Conservation Officer (CO).

‘Serious concerns’: Alberta First Nations oppose coal expansion in Rocky Mountains

February 24, 2021

Two of Alberta’s largest First Nations have written letters to coal companies saying they will oppose any new mine proposals in the Rocky Mountains.

In the shadow of her killer’s verdict, Cindy Gladue’s family wants to reclaim her humanity

February 25, 2021

Donna McLeod held her great-grandson Dayton by a firepit crackling flames in an Edmonton backyard last week and spoke about a dream she longed to have about Cindy Gladue, now gone for 10 years.

Tahltan-Tlingit master carver Dempsey Bob wins national art award

February 24, 2021

Tahltan-Tlingit master carver Dempsey Bob is one of six artists across Canada to be recognized with a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award.


Daycare approved to be built at Tl’etinqox First Nation

February 25, 2021

Construction on a new First Nations daycare west of Williams Lake will begin this spring. Tl’etinqox (Anaham) First Nation was approved for funding through the B.C. government to build a 76-space daycare which will be located near Tl’etinqox School and the Chatsan Chugh building where adult education is provided.

Indigenous Awards drives support for OC students

February 24, 2021

Kamloops’ Austin MacArthur moved to Kelowna to attend Okanagan College’s Automotive Service Technician program to unlock a lifelong dream of becoming a mechanic – a dream fueled in part by the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society’s Indigenous Student awards.

N.W.T. MLAs ask for improved mental health and addictions treatment in territory

February 25, 2021

N.W.T. MLAs seek a slew of mechanisms to improve addictions treatment in the territory including aftercare and permanent funding for harm reduction measures like managed alcohol.

Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

February 24, 2021

About 30 Yukoners protested peacefully for justice outside courthouses in Whitehorse and Watson Lake on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing took place inside the capital’s courtrooms.

Test your strength with this traditional Inuit game, the kneel jump

February 25, 2021

On a bitterly cold day in Ottawa with a windchill of –24, 15-year-old Damian Kigutaq Metcalfe and his father, who goes by the name Stranger, stay warm by perfecting a move used in chilly weather for generations.


Issue 9 of The Official Chiefs of Ontario Magazine, The Advocate is now online! To view, please click here:

Important Notice: 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:

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.