Government of Canada COVID-19 Update for Indigenous Peoples and communities 

January 8, 2021

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) continues to closely monitor the number of COVID-19 cases reported in First Nations communities across the country. There was a reduction in the number of newly reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities with 918 new cases reported during the week of December 27-January 2, down from 1,225 and 1,229 new weekly cases reported three and four weeks prior to that.

Ontario’s new COVID-19 cases top 3,000 for 8 straight days

January 11, 2021

Ontario is reporting 3,338 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday — the eighth straight day that cases have surpassed the 3,000 mark. Most of the new cases are in Toronto (931), followed by Peel Region (531), York Region (24), Niagara (168), and Waterloo (165). The province said more than 46,400 tests were completed since the provincial update on Sunday.

First Nations call for deferral of Order of Ontario award

January 11, 2021

Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou Nation is among many who do not want former Premier Mike Harris to receive the ‘Order of Ontario’ which is Ontario’s highest honour.

Chief sticks up for women, minorities

January 10, 2021

Though she’s developed “a skin of armour” after being in politics for three decades, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald says she still experiences “outright aggression” from some male colleagues when speaking out about the rights of Indigenous women and minorities.

Save the Date: Chiefs of Ontario – Chiefs Forum on Justice

January 11, 2021

The Chiefs of Ontario will be hosting a Chiefs Forum to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the provincial engagement on the Community Safety and Policing Act on January 12, 2021.

For more information and registration, please visit:

NOSM dean ‘inspired’ by opportunity to help vaccinate remote First Nations

January 11, 2021

Students and faculty from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine will be playing a big part in vaccinating northerners against COVID-19, starting in remote First Nations. The Ministry of Health recently reached out to NOSM to participate in the delivery and administration of vaccines to fly-in, remote communities — roughly 30 or so.

Military helps northern First Nation with outbreak

January 10, 2021

Members of the military are helping a remote First Nation in northeastern Ontario deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian Rangers will be in Fort Albany First Nation until at least next Monday.

COVID outbreak at Oneida of the Thames grows to 22 cases

January 11, 2021

An outbreak of COVID-19 has grown to 22 cases at Oneida Nation of the Thames, southwest of London, and the band council has imposed a nightly curfew to help curb the spread of the virus. In a statement issued Sunday, Chief Adrian Chrisjohn said the Indigenous Services Canada-FNIB COVID-19 team is working closely with the Middlesex-London Health Unit and the Oneida Health Team to keep the community updated.

Batchewana First Nation leader calls Harris appointment act of ‘blatant racism’

January 9, 2021

Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers wonders what kind of narrative the Ontario Government will create for future generations if Mike Harris is awarded the province’s highest honour.


Northern Ontario schools reopen in-person learning as southern students stay home

January 11, 2021

The northern portion of the province is allowed to return to school buildings as positivity rates for COVID-19 are relatively low. The provincial government announced on Thursday that schools across southern Ontario, meanwhile, would not be returning to in-person classes today as planned.

COVID-19 vaccines arrive in remote First Nations as leaders work to combat hesitancy

January 10, 2021

First Nations have begun to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccines as provincial immunization programs get underway, with Indigenous leaders encouraging people to roll up their sleeves.

Expanding Eligibility for Emergency Child Care in Southern Ontario

January 9, 2021

The government will be expanding eligibility for the targeted emergency child care program to more frontline workers. This expansion helps the parents of school-aged children who may not be able to support their child’s learning/care at home because they are performing critical roles in their communities and are required to report to work in person.


Four Indigenous finalists among nominees for new $5 bill

January 9, 2021

As the government of Canada is expected to announce the new subject of the $5 bank note in the coming days, relatives of the finalists reflect on the roles their ancestors played in shaping the nation.

Status Cards: What Do You Need to Know?

January 9, 2021

In Ontario, a person with a Status Card can claim an exemption from provincial tax when purchasing goods at businesses. Here is some information for businesses across Ontario on what a Status card covers.

Possible curfew in Ontario may not address root causes of coronavirus spread, experts say

January 10, 2021

As Ontario prepares for grim coronavirus modelling, sources say government officials are looking at the possibility of imposing a curfew in the province in an attempt to tackle rising COVID-19 cases.

Remembering the life and legacy of Elder Geraldine Robertson

January 11, 2021

Elder Geraldine Robertson, tireless advocate for survivors of the Canadian residential school system and recipient of the Order of Ontario, is fondly remembered as she makes her way into the Spirit World.

Kitigan Zibi chief says community still awaiting vaccine news despite COVID-19 outbreak

January 8, 2021

An Algonquin chief from Quebec went straight to the source – the federal government – to request thousands of urgent vaccinations for his community, which is grappling with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

What a year it was for Kanesatake!

January 8, 2021

From land defenders standing against development to a pandemic forcing the community to not only slow down, but to reinvent itself, 2020 has been quite a year. Here is a look at crucial moments that happened over the past 12 months.


Coffee and confession with Nakuset

January 8, 2021

In 2020, people without homes were hit badly by the pandemic and the executive director of the Native Women Shelter and co-manager of Resilience Montreal, Nakuset, witnessed it all. The Eastern Door sat down (virtually) with this incredible public figure to go over key moments of this roller-coaster of a year.

Membertou’s moment: How a Mi’kmaq nation found prosperity and a seafood empire

January 10, 2021

There was a time when taxis, pizza delivery drivers and even the police refused to cross the boundary of Membertou First Nation. The urban Mi’kmaq reservation, on the southern edge of Sydney, N.S., used to be the kind of place many in Cape Breton avoided. It was seen by outsiders, unfairly, as rough, poor and unwelcoming to business.

Trust is the foundation of leadership, says Chief Terry Paul of Membertou First Nation

January 10, 2021

Terry Paul is the Chief and CEO of Membertou First Nation. Chief Paul is credited with tripling the land base for the Membertou Reserve and increasing the employment rate within Membertou to nearly 80 per cent. For his diverse life-long achievements, Chief Paul was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2017.

Manitoba’s First Nations pandemic response team works to dispel myths regarding COVID-19 vaccine

January 10, 2021

As COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to be distributed to First Nations in Manitoba, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) pandemic response team is working to dispel myths regarding vaccines.

First Nations communities pursue clean drinking water through the courts

January 9, 2021

This time of year, with the temperature plunging below -20 C, a snowmobile and an ice chisel are required tools for anyone in Tataskweyak Cree Nation in need of fresh water.


Cowessess First Nation eyes spring launch of child welfare system

January 8, 2021

A Saskatchewan First Nation is gearing up to become one of the first Indigenous communities in Canada to launch its own child welfare system. On April 1, Cowessess First Nation plans to reassert jurisdiction over child welfare, which it never surrendered. “We’ll control and own our own destiny,” said Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme.

Mother protests COVID-positive son’s treatment in Regina jail

January 8, 2021

Community and families of inmates in Saskatchewan jails are concerned about the well-being of incarcerated men, especially those diagnosed with COVID-19, so they gathered outside the Regina Correctional Centre and online on Jan. 5 to protest.

Silence on prison guards accused in Henoche killing ‘bogus,’ says St. John’s lawyer

January 9, 2021

A St. John’s lawyer says his colleagues across Canada have been left aghast at how authorities have handled the homicide of an Indigenous inmate in St. John’s, a case critics have already called shameful and bewildering.

Gouchie working on children’s album in ancestral languages

January 10, 2021

Renowned local Indigenous artist Kym Gouchie woke up with a melody in her head recently and that’s a great beginning for her next project. Gouchie said she is the blessed recipient of a Canada Council for the Arts grant to research and compose a children’s album in her ancestral languages.

Cree teen launches video project to inspire others to use their voice

January 8, 2021

A young Cree activist is launching an online video project to share stories of overcoming adversity, hoping to help to break down stereotypes and inspire others to find their voices.

Digital Voices is the brainchild of Alexa Blyan, 18, a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation who lives in Lloydminster, on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan.

B.C. mayor blasts ‘racist rhetoric’ directed at First Nation amid COVID-19 outbreak

January 10, 2021

A Vancouver Island mayor posted a blistering open letter after observing what he says is unacceptable racism in his community related to COVID-19. North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring took to Facebook Sunday to call out some community members’ response to a COVID outbreak at the Cowichan Tribes First Nation.

Victoria siblings explore chilling creatures from Indigenous stories in horror-themed podcast

January 9, 2021

A brother-and-sister team in Victoria have started a horror-themed podcast where they tell tales about chilling creatures from Indigenous oral histories. Mackenzie Taylor, 25, and Josef Stafford, 20, call their podcast the Historical Natives because they talk about the histories of famed figures such as Sasquatch, the Wechuge and the Wendigo.

Lockdown on band land

January 8, 2021

A First Nation in the South Cariboo says it’s initiating nightly curfews and “locking down” its community indefinitely after confirming multiple positive COVID-19 cases, refusing entry to anyone who does not live on band land and allowing residents to leave only for weekly supply runs.

Seven Inuit communities create non-profit to lobby mining industry in Baffin region

January 11, 2021

A new Inuit led non-profit in Nunavut’s northern Qikiqtaaluk region is hoping to make sure its seven member-communities benefit from industry in the region, including in aviation, fisheries and mining.

Quebec’s new overnight curfew won’t apply to Nunavik 

January 8, 2021

The Quebec government will impose stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including an overnight curfew and the closure of all non-essential businesses. But the new measures won’t apply to Nunavik, the province said.

Forced to travel during pandemic, Nunavut women want birthing services at home

January 10, 2021

In October, Collette Nilaulak gave birth, alone, to her third child in a hospital room about 1,200 kilometres from her home in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.


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. Click learn more for additional information.

For more information, please visit:

Save the Date: Chiefs of Ontario Special Chiefs Assembly

Please see the attached save the date notice for the next Special Chiefs Assembly held online on February 3-4th, 2020. More information will be shared in the coming weeks.

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: