LIVE: Chiefs of Ontario Special Chiefs Assembly – Day 2

February 3, 2021

The Chiefs of Ontario Special Chiefs Assembly will be held online from February 3-4, 2021. For more information, please visit:

Watch live:

Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday

February 4, 2021

As of early Thursday morning, Canada had reported 789,652 cases of COVID-19 — with 48,222 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 20,355. Students in Ontario regions hit hard by COVID-19 will begin returning to physical classrooms next week as the province said new infections were gradually declining and additional measures had been put in place to ensure schools would be safe.

NAN Welcomes Support for Air Carriers Serving Remote First Nations Communities

February 3, 2021

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler welcomes support for air carriers serving remote First Nation communities after an announcement made by Ontario and Canada.

Hundreds vaccinated against COVID-19 in NWO

February 3, 2021

Hundreds of doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in a number of local First Nation communities in the area. Ornge Air Ambulance’s Operation Remote Immunity has begun, which will continue to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to remote communities across Northern Ontario and the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, with the help of the Canadian Rangers, if needed and approved by each community.

Mamakwa: Vaccine rollout ‘fills me with hope’

February 4, 2021

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa is encouraging residents across northwestern Ontario to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, in an effort to protect each of our communities. Mamakwa, who also serves as the NDP’s Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation Critic, says he’s received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the request of First Nations leadership and health leaders, as part of a movement to encourage others to get vaccinated.

Minister Miller and Indigenous Services Canada officials to hold a news conference on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) 

February 4, 2021

Please be advised that the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, Valerie Gideon, Associate Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services Canada and Dr. Tom Wong, Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, will hold a news conference to provide an update on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ginoogaming First Nation hopes to be included in Phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccine rollout

February 4, 2021

Members of Ginoogaming First Nation are calling on the province to include the community in the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The community declared a state of emergency in January after its sixth confirmed COVID-19 case in less than a week.

Curve Lake members encouraged to register for vaccinations

February 3, 2021

Curve Lake First Nation members, living on the reserve and off, are being encouraged to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Virtual forums to discuss safety of First Nation students in urban centres

February 3, 2021

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is hosting three virtual forums to discuss issues and challenges that First Nation students are facing in urban centres. The first virtual meeting will be held for students in Sioux Lookout on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Red Rock Indian Band’s clean energy program featured at virtual gathering

February 4, 2021

Melissa McDonald is confident better days are ahead for her First Nation. McDonald, the community energy champion for Red Rock Indian Band, was willing to discuss and share the clean energy plans for her First Nation, located in northwestern Ontario.

First Nations leaders opposing forest management plan

February 3, 2021

First Nations leaders around the Timiskaming region say they are unanimous in their disapproval of the proposed 2021-2031 Timiskaming Forest Management Plan.

Six Nations Mourns Loss of Second Community Death Due to COVID-19

February 3, 2021

Six Nations received notice over the weekend from Ohsweken Public Health of a second community member that has passed away in relation to COVID-19. Heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers are sent to the families at this time as they mourn the loss of their loved one.

Ohsweken Public Health Identifies COVID-19 Cases As Result of Midwinters Ceremonies

February 3, 2021

Six Nations received notice over the weekend from Ohsweken Public Health (OPH) have identified positive cases from members that attended midwinter’s ceremonies from January 15 to 26.


Manitoulin opens Ontario’s first community-based sexual and domestic violence clinic

February 4, 2021

The name of Manitoulin Island’s first clinic dedicated exclusively to sexual and domestic violence survivors is Ka Naad Ma Go which means “we will help you” in the Ojibway language. “To us, helping means that we will hear you, we will believe you, and we will support you,” said Noojmowin-Teg, the Indigenous health access centre in Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation that will be administering the program.

Opinion: Business Incubators and Innovation Centres

February 4, 2021

Could it really be that simple? Could a group of people with good ideas and a keen acumen for business, who are also willing to support each other, really meet all of the economic, commerce, trade, and consumable needs of our communities? Well, in a nutshell, the answer is: it’s complicated.

Brayden Bushby sentencing hearing moved to Feb 17

February 3, 2021

The sentencing hearing for a man found guilty of manslaughter for the death of Barbara Kentner will be pushed back by a week. Brayden Bushby will now have his sentencing hearing held on February 17, instead of February 9 as originally planned.

Protests continue against Indigenous deer hunt

February 3, 2021

Animal rights activists continue to take aim at an annual Aboriginal ritual and treaty right in Niagara, a white-tailed deer hunt, that has stirred emotions on both sides of the debate since the first harvest took place in Short Hills Provincial Park in 2013. The final hunt day under the 2020 treaty protocol took place last Thursday.


Indigenous poet and residential school survivor named Canada’s next parliamentary poet laureate

February 3, 2021

An award-winning Indigenous poet and residential school survivor who has used poetry to confront Canada’s fraught history with Indigenous people has been selected as the next parliamentary poet laureate.

Indigenous artist’s work featured on NHL, TSN

February 3, 2021

Patrick Hunter is having a bit of a moment, thanks to a number of high profile collaborations with NHL teams and sports media.

Cindy Blackstock Is Still Fighting for Indigenous Kids

February 3, 2021

Cindy Blackstock never expected she’d become a household name, nor hailed as a national “hero.” Then again, the 56-year-old Gitxsan professor of social work never expected that being a children’s champion would get her spied on by the federal government in 2010.

Sioux Lookout OPP searching for 27-year-old

February 3, 2021

Officers with the Sioux Lookout OPP are asking for the public’s help in locating 27-year-old Jacob Sainnawap, of Wunnumin First Nation.

From hurt to healing, Toronto students learn Ojibwe-themed yoga

February 3, 2021

Students at Wandering Spirit School in Toronto’s east end are learning Ojibwe. “It helped me to connect to who I am and my culture,” said Grade 3 student Jovani Sherwood.


Canada didn’t expand the terrorist definition. Here’s why that matters.

February 3, 2021

Anti-hate and civil rights groups are cautiously relieved the terrorist designation wasn’t expanded for the Proud Boys, which they say could have given law enforcement more leeway to surveil Black Lives Matter, Indigenous land defenders or others.

Systemic racism goes way beyond incident with Winnipeg firefighters, Indigenous advocates insist

February 4, 2021

Indigenous leaders and healers in Winnipeg say they’re traumatized, angry and need public support after a report found two firefighters’ racism and biases prevented a young Indigenous woman from getting the medical care she needed.

Sipekne’katik First Nation taking Nova Scotia to court over fishing rights

February 3, 2021

Sipekne’katik First Nation has filed an action against the government of Nova Scotia, challenging a regulation that states fish sold in the province must be registered under a federal commercial licence. The claim says this ignores rights upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Sipekne’katik First Nation sues Nova Scotia over restrictions on buying Mi’kmaw lobster

February 3, 2021

Sipekne’katik First Nation is suing the Nova Scotia government over regulations restricting the purchase of seafood harvested outside federal or provincial regulations, claiming the rules infringe on treaty rights.

Algonquin chiefs denounce urban expansion as ‘wreck-onciliation’

February 3, 2021

Chiefs of Algonquin First Nations say a decision by municipal politicians to allow the Algonquins of Ontario to urbanize a large swath of land in Ottawa’s rural south-east isn’t reconciliation, and say they were never consulted on the project.

Some Cree feel left out of COVID-19 vaccination campaign

February 3, 2021

Some Cree living outside the jurisdictional Cree health board boundaries in northern Quebec say they feel worse than second-class citizens when it comes to getting access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Blending tradition with hip-hop: City names new Indigenous Artist-in-Residence

February 3, 2021

The City of Edmonton has selected its 2021 Indigenous Artist-in-Residence. Matthew Wood, known also as Creeasian, is a dancer, DJ and producer. He is also a founding member of the Sampler Café Collective, Cypher Wild YEG and a long-time practitioner of hip-hop culture.


Blackfoot in Alberta look to educate community members on proposed coal mine

February 3, 2021

The pros and cons of the proposed Grassy Mountain coal mine in southern Alberta are still being weighed by members Piikani and Kainai Nations. The Blackfoot communities run along the eastern slopes of the Rockies near the proposed site for the coal mine.

First Nation company assists with facemask donations across Western Treaty 6 Territory

February 3, 2021

Saddle Lake Smoke-Eaters LP, an on-reserve company in Saddle Lake Cree Nation, recently donated 120,000 facemasks to First Nations in Western Treaty 6 Territory.

Bradley Barton takes the stand as retrial in the death of Cindy Gladue continues

February 3, 2021

Bradley Barton took the stand this week in an Edmonton courtroom as his retrial continues in the death of Cindy Gladue. APTN’s Chris Stewart has the latest. Warning: This report contains graphic information.

Birth alerts banned in B.C., but trust still a barrier for Indigenous parents

February 3, 2021

Social workers in British Columbia announced that they would stop issuing birth alerts on September 16, 2019, replacing the controversial practice with “collaborative, rather than involuntary” supports, according to the B.C. government.

New CBC British Columbia podcast explores a young man’s journey to understand his Indigenous identity

February 4, 2021

Being human is complex, but having a strong sense of identity brings comfort, security and a sense of belonging as we navigate the world. What happens when part of you remains an unsolved puzzle?

TRU hosts female Indigenous storytellers for webinar series

February 3, 2021

Expert female indigenous filmmakers and storytellers will be the next speakers in TRU’s Rematriation of Indigenous Women series. The four-part webinar series focuses on the Rematriation of Indigenous Women in Canada and how indigenous women play a vital role in their communities and home life.

Update expected for report on racism against Indigenous peoples in B.C. health-care system

February 4, 2021

The public can expect to learn more Thursday about what’s happened in the months since a damning report detailed widespread racism, stereotyping and discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the B.C. health-care system.

Grassroots group sews skirts to help families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls heal

February 3, 2021

A Cree woman who was living on the streets several years ago says Vancouver’s annual Women’s Memorial March turned her life around and she can now help other families heal.


10K prize available for Indigenous artist to create Kelowna-based mural

February 4, 2021

There’s a new opportunity available for Indigenous artists across Canada. The Okanagan Indigenous Music and Arts Society (OIMAS) has launched the “Honouring our Stories” Artistic Mural and Beautification Project, in partnership with Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and Sncewips Heritage Museum.

Dehcho First Nations launch 30-day on-the-land healing program

February 4, 2021

As soon as Dehcho First Nations announced its 30-day land-based healing program, the calls started rolling in like never before. “I’ve heard from elders in the region that to be well, we have to go back to the land, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Kristen Tanche, a regional health and wellness co-ordinator with Dehcho First Nations.


QIA distributes $28,500 in food hampers to Elders in Igloolik

February 3, 2021

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) is distributing $28,500 in food hampers to Elders in Igloolik as part of the Emergency Voucher for Elders Program.

Native Americans use culture and community to gain tribes’ trust in Covid vaccine

February 4, 2021

They were the original Code Talkers, Native American soldiers sent to fight in France a century ago who relayed orders from the trenches in Cherokee to confuse the enemy and help the Allies secure victory during World War I.


Native American Rights Fund lawyer appointed to Interior

February 3, 2021

A former attorney at the Native American Rights Fund in Alaska and member of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma will become a top official in the U.S. Department of the Interior, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday.


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:

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:

Request for Proposals: Early Learning and Child Care Asset Mapping Report Consultant and Economist Team

You are invited to submit a proposal for a project by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) to utilize your research expertise and economic expertise to create an Early Learning and Child Care Report that analyzes the existing landscape of early learning and child care programming and services in Ontario for First Nations children 0-6 years old.

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: