Feds alarmed over skyrocketing COVID infections in First Nations communities

January 20, 2021

Indigenous Services Canada says it continues to be troubled over the high number of COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities. Their latest numbers show there are over 5,500 active cases of COVID-19 which brings the total to over 13,000 confirmed cases on reserve to date with 120 deaths. “These numbers continue to be alarming and now is not the time to ease up on public health restrictions,” Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said at a press conference Wednesday.



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

January 21, 2021

COVID-19 case counts are dropping in the two provinces hardest hit by the pandemic, offering some hope that newly imposed restrictions are working. Quebec marked a fourth consecutive day on Wednesday with fewer than 2,000 new cases, reporting 1,502 new cases. Ontario, meanwhile, recorded 2,655 new cases on Wednesday.



Indigenous people should get first crack at vaccines, minister says

January 21, 2021

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the federal government is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19, including those who live in urban centres and other places where the provinces provide health services.



Consent at heart of Ontario’s vaccination plan for remote First Nations communities

January 21, 2021

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said that the most obvious hurdle of Operation Remote Immunity is geography, as those remote communities may not have an airstrip and must have their winter roads built in time for the vaccine to be delivered. But he said that even more important than the physical logistics of delivering the vaccine is ensuring that Indigenous people are willing to accept it.



COVID-19 is hitting First Nations in Western Canada especially hard

January 21, 2021

While Ontario and Quebec are the epicentres of COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada, people in First Nations are being hit the hardest in Western Canada, where they make up half the number of hospitalizations in some provinces.



Indigenous services minister talks about active COVID-19 cases in Prairie provinces

January 20, 2021

The CBC’s David Thurton asks Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, associate deputy minister Valerie Gideon and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health Dr. Tom Wong about the concentration of active cases of COVID-19 in Prairie provinces.



NOSM dean urges ‘open, respectful’ discussion around vaccine hesitancy

January 21, 2021

A northern Ontario health leader is lending her voice to those of other Ontario doctors in an effort to clear up misinformation and myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.



Wiiky’s Scotty Odjig picked to receive first COVID shot at Wikwemikong Nursing Home

January 20, 2021

The residents and staff of Wikwemikong Nursing Home (WNH) have all received their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and no serious side effects or concerns have been reported by either.



Child and family services legislation must end the era of ‘blacked-out time’

January 20, 2021

Traditional helper Elaine Kicknosway wants to make sure no more First Nations children belong to “this era of child welfare.” “We have these different labels which are placed upon us as children: neglected, abandoned; in that light of knowing our mothers or community would not raise us,” she said. “I was born in that era.”



Granting of new drug to Pikwakanagan toddler under Jordan’s Principle a tribute those who struggled, suffered and fought

January 20, 2021

It felt like winning the lottery – an incredible gift. Jessica Verch was elated when she learned that, under Jordan’s Principle, Indigenous Services Canada would pay $2.8 million for a groundbreaking new drug her infant grandson Kevin Verch needs to stop the progression of his rare disease.



Indigenous two-spirit describes living in Canada’s ‘chemical valley’ in Greenpeace report on recycling

January 20, 2021

As an Indigenous two-spirit, Beze Gray grew up learning to cherish the land. But they were confused when the very land they were told to respect was littered with signs that read “toxic.”  Gray, who is a land and water defender from Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, wrote the forward in Greenpeace’s latest report on recycling in Canada that has been submitted to the federal government.



More Indigenous students earning credits with new learning model: school board

January 20, 2021

High school students who identify as Indigenous are earning more credits with the new learning system being used by District School Board Ontario North East (DSB1), according to the board’s data.



‘I’ll cry with you, laugh with you’: Finding hope through traditional Indigenous healing

January 21, 2021

Jules Tapas is telling a story about how his younger brother once shot him with a rifle after a particularly nasty fight. “I died twice that night,” Tapas says to the sharing circle gathered in the basement of Misiway Milopemahtesewin’s traditional-healing facility.



Fontaine’s book details stories of former Indigenous leaders

January 21, 2021

Jerry Fontaine believes a look at the past will lead to a greater future.

Fontaine, the former chief who served Sagkeeng First Nation, an Ojibwe/Anishinaabe community in Manitoba, from 1987-98, has written a book, Our Hearts Are As One Fire, which is receiving its share of praise.



Opinion: Lack of jobs key cause of ‘deaths of despair’ among Indigenous Peoples

January 21, 2021

“A lot of suicides can be linked to low economic opportunity. They don’t feel there’s a lot for them out there,” says Canadian Indigenous leader Will Landon.



Arts workers in northeastern Ontario remain major casualties of COVID-19’s economic blows

January 21, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new meaning to the term starving artist.  According to Statistics Canada, one in four arts workers lost their job this past year due to the pandemic. Of the total Canadian jobs lost in 2020, 11 per cent were arts, entertainment and recreation jobs.



Rare honour for Ken Hill as Niagara Falls illuminated in memory of Six Nations businessman

January 20, 2021

One of the wonders of the world was illuminated Wednesday night in tribute to a larger-than-life businessman from Six Nations of the Grand River.



Feds push Legault to ease curfew rules, say homeless man’s death in Montreal was avoidable

January 20, 2021

The federal government is adding its voice to those calling on Premier François Legault to relax how curfew rules are applied to homeless people in Montreal, after a man died over the weekend, just steps away from a shelter that was closed for the night.



‘So many challenges’: How COVID-19 outbreak is impacting one tiny Cree town

January 20, 2021

With more than a third of Oujé-Bougoumou’s entire population of 980 people currently in mandatory self-isolation, Chief Curtis Bosum has had a very busy start to 2021. Since Jan. 7, there have been 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this tight-knit Cree community, located more than 730 kilometres north of Montreal.



Military help arrives in Garden Hill First Nation to battle ‘alarming spike’ in COVID-19

January 20, 2021

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have arrived in Garden Hill First Nation to help fight what federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller called a “very, very alarming spike” in COVID-19 cases.



Sask. Ministry of Social Services reports rising number of child deaths

January 20, 2021

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Social Services has recorded the highest number of deaths of children in care or in receipt of services in over a decade. Data from the ministry shows nine children died while in the care of the province or of a First Nations child and family services agency in 2020



Indigenous leaders come together to discuss water as a spirited being

January 20, 2021

On Jan. 13, Indigenous community leaders and those working alongside them came together for the Water is Alive webinar where they reflected on ways to recognize water as a spirited being with agency.



Manager of Nova Scotia pound claims in online post that he ‘opened the doors’ for non-Indigenous fishers to take Mi’kmaw catch

January 20, 2021

Shy Francis, known as Awesome Awesome, of Sipekne’katik First Nation, recently saw a Facebook post in the North Atlantic Commercial Fishermen Group. It was posted by James Muise, who says he’s the manager of the pound.



Police won’t help so these MMIWG families are turning to private investigators

January 20, 2021

Worried sick and feeling brushed off by Edmonton police, Marless Johnson has hired a private investigator to find her daughter Billie Wynelle Johnson missing since Christmas Eve. “They suggested she was partying,” the distraught mother said in an interview.



Indigenous identity fraud law is ‘a dividing line in the sand,’ says Haida filmmaker

January 20, 2021

Haida filmmaker Tamara Bell launched a campaign this week to convince the federal government to create legislation to stop a longstanding trend: People fraudulently claiming Indigenous identity to gain funding or opportunities.



Push for fish farm judicial review challenges reconciliation and Aboriginal Rights: First Nations

January 21, 2021

A Vancouver Island First Nations leader said that two aquaculture companies’ move to seek a judicial review of the federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Islands fish farms directly challenges reconciliation and Aboriginal rights of First Nations.



Families subjected to birth alerts deserve an apology, says B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth 

January 20, 2021

The B.C. government should apologize to families who were the subjects of birth alerts, says the province’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) Jennifer Charlesworth.



B.C. First Nation credits family who self-disclosed COVID-19 diagnosis with helping outbreak control

January 20, 2021

A First Nation in the Vancouver Coastal Health region says it’s starting to get a large COVID-19 outbreak under control — and the only reason is that the first family to test positive posted on social media, alerting their community.



House parties, impending lockdown and loss; Tl’etinqox chief grapples with COVID-19 challenges

January 20 , 2021

As reckless parties continue, Tl’etinqox Chief Joe Alphonse believes it will just be a matter of time for COVID-19 cases to climb in his community where he said they have already lost an elder from complications of the disease.



Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

January 20, 2021

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. The First Nation opened the application process for a chief negotiator on Jan. 14.



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


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 www.chiefsmeeting.com in the coming weeks.


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


State of Lake Ontario Conference, March 9-11, 2021

Hosted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, the conference will feature concurrent sessions, plenaries, and discussions.

For more information, click here: https://bit.ly/35FP4jX.


Great Lakes Executive Committee Meeting, June 29, 2021

For more information, please click here: https://bit.ly/2KhikG8


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