COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: total cases in First Nations surpass 11,000

January 13, 2021

The number of active COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities continues to rise, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada. As of Jan. 11, 4,225 active cases were reported in First Nations. In a Jan. 8 update, the federal department said there was a reduction in the number of newly reported cases the week of Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, versus three weeks previously.

Ontario Declares Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives

January 12, 2021

In response to a doubling in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, the real and looming threat of the collapse of the province’s hospital system and alarming risks posed to long-term care homes as a result of high COVID-19 transmission rates, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a second provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).

Indigenous Services Canada news conference on COVID-19

January 12, 2021

Marc Miller, minister of Indigenous services, Valerie Gideon, associate deputy minister of Indigenous Services Canada, and Dr. Tom Wong, its chief medical officer of public health, will hold a news conference to provide an update on COVID-19.

COVID-19: What you need to know for January 13

January 13, 2021

Per today’s government report, there are 2,903 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 222,023 since the pandemic began; 1,701 people are in hospital, 385 of them in intensive care, and 262 on ventilators. To date, 5,053 people have died.

Consent will be important as COVID-19 vaccine delivery to remote First Nations picks up in Ontario

January 12, 2021

As the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to remote First Nations in northern Ontario picks up steam, the week promises a lot of phone calls for Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. A schedule detailing when each of the 31 First Nations can expect to receive their doses of the Moderna vaccine has been drafted. and Fiddler, along with the president and CEO of Ornge Homer Tien, plan on calling the leadership from each community to confirm delivery dates and arrange necessary logistical details to prepare for the vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccination for Southern Indigenous communities still being sorted out

January 12, 2021

There’s still no concrete timeline for when adults in Indigenous communities in Southwestern Ontario will be vaccinated against COVID-19, despite being listed as a priority group during the province’s initial rollout. “We’re just not sure of timelines yet,” said Joel Abram, grand chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. “We’re hopeful we can get everyone done by March or April.”

COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins in remote northern Ontario communities

January 12, 2021

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said he is feeling optimistic as COVID-19 vaccinations begin rolling out in northern Ontario. Vaccinations with the Moderna vaccine began last Thursday at William A. George Extended Care Facility in Sioux Lookout, Ont., with Fiddler’s mother, Eunice Fiddler, who is an 85-year-old resident at the facility. “It was a bit of an emotional moment,” said Fiddler.

While the nation obsessed over vaccine deliveries, the pandemic was getting worse

January 13, 2021

The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada was the first truly good news since the pandemic began nearly a year ago. But it was also a false dawn. And that small glimmer of hope may have obscured the daunting challenge and the profound personal suffering that still stand between us and a new day.

Here’s what you need to know about Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions

January 12, 2021

With Ontario facing dangerously high rates of COVID-19 that threaten more deaths than seen during the first wave, Premier Doug Ford declared a second provincial emergency Tuesday and announced a slate of new restrictions in an effort to bring the virus under control.

Wikwemikong Nursing Home will have COVID-19 vaccines this week

January 13, 2021

Chief and Council of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory report that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination will be made available this week for the Wikwemikong Nursing Home. The Nursing Home will be the first to get the vaccine in the Sudbury district.

Indigenous communities impacted by COVID-19

January 12, 2021

“Housing, poverty, access to water, have really impacted health outcomes.”
Dr. Mandy Buss from the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada discusses how Indigenous Canadians are being affected by COVID-19.


COVID-19 outbreak at Oneida Nation of the Thames grows to 33 cases

January 12, 2021

A COVID-19 outbreak at a First Nation reserve near London, Ont., has grown to 33 cases. Middlesex-London Health Unit says an outbreak at the Oneida Long-Term Care Home was declared on Jan. 5.

Day School Survivors will have a say in how the Day Schools Legacy Fund is managed

January 13, 2021

The Board of Directors of McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation (MDSSC) is pleased to announce an update on its plans to launch an extensive outreach campaign that will involve engaging in dialogue with Day School Survivors, their families and key stakeholders.


Residential school deniers, white supremacists biggest barrier to reconciliation says Murray Sinclair

January 12, 2021

As he prepares to leave the Senate at the end of January, Murray Sinclair warns that white supremacists and residential school deniers will likely present major obstacles to achieving reconciliation and decolonization in Canada.

Algonquin toddler approved for $2.8M treatment through Jordan’s Principle

January 12, 2021

The family of a 14 month old Algonquin boy requiring a $2.8 million genetic treatment has just received news they will receive the life altering drug under Jordan’s Principle.

Feds’ challenge of ruling on First Nations children ‘a slap in the face’: AFN

January 12, 2021

The federal government’s appeal of a ruling that expanded First Nations children’s rights to public services is “a slap in the face,” says the Assembly of First Nations.

Wiiky youth actor gains Hollywood prominence

January 13, 2021

Up-and-coming Wiikwemkoong actor Sladen Peltier is navigating the complexity of working in acting during a global pandemic and its related travel restrictions, all while balancing his high school education from home and trying to stay motivated as he explores new opportunities to appear on screen.

Fort William First Nation Elder inspires during Dibaajimowin Anishinaabe Storytelling series

January 13, 2021

Fort William First Nation Elder Rita Fenton shared her life story from growing up on the land to completing her Masters of Social Work Degree at 69-years-old during the Dibaajimowin Anishinaabe Storytelling series.

‘There’s not enough funds’: More resources needed for Indigenous filmmakers says director

January 12, 2021

Bringing Eden Robinson’s novel Monkey Beach to the big screen was a labour of love for filmmaker Loretta Todd. And it had to be. The award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer spent 15 years getting the project off the ground.

Thunder Bay palladium hunter reaches an understanding with local First Nations

January 11, 2021

A Thunder Bay palladium junior miner has signed an early-stage cooperation and development agreement with three area First Nations in northwestern Ontario. Clean Air Metals signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Fort William First Nation, Red Rock Indian Band, and the Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek (formerly Rocky Bay First Nation) revolving around exploration activity at the company’s Thunder Bay North project.

Inuk woman counting the days in Ottawa isolation hub

January 13, 2021

Joanna Awa, a 59-year-old Inuk woman from a suburb near Iqaluit, is used to the wide-open spaces of Canada’s Arctic. But for the past 12 days, she’s been living in quarantine at a downtown Ottawa hotel, an isolation hub created with a multi-million-dollar grant from the federal government. The views are different, but she’s been making the most of it.

Innu Nation demands Quebec workers entering Muskrat Falls site isolate 14 days outside Labrador

January 12, 2021

Innu Nation leaders are asking Nalcor for stricter precautions after the Crown corporation planned to send workers from Quebec to Labrador without a 14-day quarantine. Eugene Hart, chief of the Sheshatshiu First Nation, told CBC he got a call Sunday that a chartered flight would arrive with six of the workers on board.

Atikamekw community with confirmed cases getting vaccine supply

January 12, 2021

With more than 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases since mid-December, people in the Atikamekw community of Opitciwan in Quebec are getting vaccinated. Doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived by helicopter to start a three day vaccination campaign.

Indigenous performer was a musical trailblazer

January 13, 2021

Shingoose, a Indigenous musician from Winnipeg who was part of the 1960s folk movement in New York and would later become a producer and mentor to others in entertainment in Winnipeg, died Tuesday morning of COVID-19 complications. He was 74.

Okimaw Vernon Watchmaker is appointed Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations

January 12, 2021

On January 7, 2020 the Confederacy of Treaty No. 6 First Nations announced that it has appointed Okimaw (Chief) Vernon Watchmaker of Kehewin Cree Nation as the next Grand Chief of the Confederacy, succeeding Chief Billy Morin.

First Nations say communication, proactivity key in successful management of COVID-19

January 13, 2021

Three First Nations communities in southern Alberta that managed to stave off more severe outcomes of COVID-19 for months are now seeing a spike in positive cases that has necessitated stricter measures and forced some into lockdown.

Federal data shows Alberta First Nations hardest hit by COVID-19

January 12, 2021

Alberta’s Indigenous population has been hardest hit by COVID-19, with roughly one-third of all cases identified on First Nation reserves being in the province, according to data released by the federal government. Of the 11,229 cases identified as of Jan. 11, a total of 3,639 — 32 per cent — are in Alberta.


Council approves MMIWG $435,000 work plan

January 12, 2021

City Council passed the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Work Plan, which allocates $435,000 to the group. The Work Plan adds to Council’s existing commitment to Reconciliation as outlined in the “Reconciliation Implementation Plan.”

Manitoba has used half of its COVID-19 vaccine supply, smooth rollout reported on First Nations

January 12, 2021

Premier Brian Pallister defended what some critics have described as Manitoba’s slow push to get COVID-19 shots administered Tuesday, as First Nations reported a good start to their inoculation efforts.

First Nations leadership in Manitoba address misinformation as Moderna vaccine arrives

January 12, 2021

Surrounded by healthcare workers and leadership, Mervin Garrick was the first person to receive the Moderna vaccine in Pimicikamak Cree Nation.

RCMP charge 23 after lobster pound ransacked last fall in southwest N.S.

January 12, 2021

Charges have been laid against 23 people in connection with an incident last year at a lobster pound in Middle West Pubnico, N.S. On Oct. 13, 2020, a mob descended on the Yarmouth County lobster pound, forcing Mi’kmaw fisherman Jason Marr to barricade himself inside.

Siloam Mission in Winnipeg not doing enough for Indigenous population former staff say

January 12, 2021

Former staff members of Siloam Mission, which helps the homeless in Winnipeg, are speaking out against the Christian organization saying the centre has neglected the spiritual and cultural needs of the Indigenous people they serve.


Woman concerned over mother’s living conditions on Big River First Nation

January 12, 2021

A woman is concerned about the living conditions of her 69-year-old mother, Betsy Bird, and the four foster children she’s taking care of on Big River First Nation. Meagan Vivian says two years ago her mother’s house became “overrun” with bedbugs and cockroaches. She says Big River First Nation councillors fumigated the and promised $1,500 towards renovations.

B.C. First Nation faces COVID-19 outbreak; community leaders issue racism warnings

January 12, 2021

A First Nations community on Vancouver Island hard hit by COVID-19 is facing intolerance from some members of the surrounding community while it fights to contain the outbreak.

Surrey councillor ‘disappointed’ after council denies motion to acknowledge Indigenous lands

January 12, 2021

A Surrey city councillor says he’s “shocked and disappointed” after a majority of his colleagues shot down his motion to officially acknowledge the Indigenous lands that council holds its meetings on.

Documentary series aims to ‘give power back’ to Indigenous voices in media

January 12, 2021

A Victoria community radio station is seeking pitches for Indigenous-focused radio documentaries for a new series. Victoria Campus and Community Radio (CFUV) will provide a $600 honorarium, training and support for up to 16 one-hour documentaries produced by Indigenous people who live in the Capital Regional District.

B.C. ministry warned birth alerts ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ months before banning them

January 12, 2021

Months before British Columbia officially ended the controversial practice of birth alerts, government lawyers advised the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) that the practice was “illegal and unconstitutional” and posed a “litigation risk,” according to records obtained by IndigiNews.

Former premier Eva Aariak is new commissioner of Nunavut

January 12, 2021

The prime minister has appointed former Nunavut premier Eva Aariak as the territory’s new commissioner. Justin Trudeau’s office made the announcement on Tuesday. “Ms. Aariak has been a lifelong champion for Nunavut and Inuit languages and culture,” read a news release.

The N.W.T.’s top doc on why you shouldn’t hesitate to get the COVID-19 vaccine

January 12, 2021

While the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is being administered to residents of the Northwest Territories over the next three months, many people across the territory, including in Indigenous communities, are saying they won’t take it or are not sure it’s a good idea to take it. It’s a phenomenon known as vaccine hesitancy.

9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Were Inuit Inventions

January 12, 2021

The Inuit, which means “the People” in the Inuktitut language, are a group of indigenous people who primarily live in the northernmost regions of Canada. Once called Eskimos (meaning “eater of raw meat” by other Native Americans), they are individually known as Inuk, and they call their homeland Inuit Nunangat.


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 at 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: