COVID-19 in Indigenous communities: what you need to know

November 25, 2020

There are currently 1,338 active cases of COVID-19 cases on First Nations reserves across Canada, according to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada. The federal department reported 657 new cases in the last week, with outbreaks occurring primarily in the Prairies.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indigenous-covid-19-update-1.5814489

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

November 25, 2020

Ontario is expected to provide guidance Wednesday on how people should handle the upcoming holiday season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Toronto and Peel Region are currently under the grey, or lockdown, level in the province’s tiered COVID-19 alert system, with those restrictions to stay in place at least until the week of Christmas.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-what-s-happening-in-canada-and-around-the-world-on-wednesday-1.5815359

Chiefs of Ontario and Ontario Regional Chief Call for Action on National Housing Day

November 24, 2020

Today, the Chiefs of Ontario and Ontario Regional Chief, RoseAnne Archibald, are calling for action on National Housing Day and reminding the provincial and federal governments of their fiduciary responsibility to be active partners with First Nations by addressing and investing in issues such as infrastructure and sustainable housing to ensure collective prosperity.

https://nationtalk.ca/story/chiefs-of-ontario-and-ontario-regional-chief-call-for-action-on-national-housing-day

Ottawa replaces federal bureaucrat working with Neskantaga First Nation during state of emergency

November 24, 2020

At the community’s request, Indigenous Services Canada has replaced the top federal bureaucrat working with Neskantaga First Nation during its current state of emergency. Assistant deputy minister Joanne Wilkinson has taken over from Ontario regional director general Anne Scotton as the liaison between department officials and Neskantaga — a fly-in community about 450 km north of Thunder Bay, Ont., that has been under a boil-water advisory for 25 years.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/neskantaga-demands-ontario-top-bureaucrat-resignation-1.5812399

New PPE factory bringing 50 jobs to Wiikwemkoong

November 25, 2020

A major economic boost has come to the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. Medical equipment manufacturer Dent-X Canada, in partnership with FN Procurement Inc., is setting up operations in the new light industrial park. The facility will help Canada meet the increasing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) with a made-in-Canada solution.

https://www.manitoulin.com/new-ppe-factory-bringing-50-jobs-to-wiikwemkoong/

Caldwell First Nation gets land back and reserve status

November 24, 2020

Members of Caldwell First Nation are celebrating after obtaining reserve status for the first time. An 80-hectare property at Bevel Line Road and Seacliff Drive in Leamington, which was acquired a decade ago in a land claim settlement, has officially been designated a reserve. This means members of the nation now have a permanent home on the ancestral lands they have been fighting to access for hundreds of years.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/caldwell-first-nation-land-reserve-status-1.5814732

Indigenous NHL pioneer Fred Sasakamoose dead at 86

November 24, 2020

Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous athletes to play in the National Hockey League, has died after being hospitalized with COVID-19. He was 86 years old.  Sasakamoose’s son, Neil Sasakamoose, said in a video on Facebook that his father had died Tuesday afternoon, five days after he was admitted to the hospital.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/fred-sasakamoose-dead-1.5814919

Indian day school survivors are seeking truth and justice

November 25, 2020

In January 2020, Canada began accepting claims emerging from a billion-dollar settlement with survivors of the Indian day schools. This landmark settlement has been embroiled by legal battles as well as additional lawsuits. In the meantime, survivors and the public have yet to learn how the $200 million, earmarked for education, healing and commemoration, will be used.

http://anishinabeknews.ca/2020/11/25/indian-day-school-survivors-are-seeking-truth-and-justice/

Thirteen people have died in the Thunder Bay jail since 2002, here’s why

November 24, 2020

The Thunder Bay jail has been called, “a hellhole” and “a factory that produces broken Indigenous people.” It’s a place where addictions fester; where potentially life-saving information about inmate health gets lost. It’s also a place where 13 people have died since 2002. At least seven were Indigenous.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thirteen-deaths-tbay-jail-1.5812412

Lawyers familiar with Ontario inquest process call for more accountability after deaths at Thunder Bay jail

November 25, 2020

Going through a provincial inquest into the death of someone in the government’s custody is often traumatizing for the family members that Emily Hill has represented. The senior staff lawyer with Aboriginal Legal Services says that while inquests are legally required by the Ontario Coroner’s Act when someone dies while in custody or being detained, families don’t have to participate.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/accountability-after-tbay-jail-deaths-1.5814918

Wiikwemkoong Hub Centre celebrates 30 years of childcare in community

November 25, 2020

In 1990, the Wiikwemkoong Hub Centre opened its doors in a brand new building and is now celebrating 30 years of servicing the childcare and early learning needs of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.

https://www.manitoulin.com/wiikwemkoong-hub-centre-celebrates-30-years-of-childcare-in-community/

Interest in online Indigenous language class spikes during COVID-19

November 24, 2020

An Indigenous language teacher has seen a boom in people interested in her class during the pandemic. Theresa O’Watch teaches Nakoda language classes online through the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council. They can be found online or through the tribal council’s app.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/interest-online-indigenous-language-class-231537933.html

Gateway’s Casino Rama to remain closed in Ontario

November 25, 2020

Rama First Nations officials announced last week that plans were underway to reopen Casino Rama in Orilla, Ontario. While they stated the casino could be operational within 10 days, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment cautioned that it could take longer and the date of reopening would be decided by them as the operator, OrilliaMatters reports. On Monday, Gateway announced those plans have been put on hold.

https://www.yogonet.com/international/noticias/2020/11/25/55574-gateways-casino-rama-to-remain-closed-in-ontario

Opinion: Some thoughts on section 87 of the Indian Act

November 25, 2020

Arguably, the most famous section of the Indian Act, section 87 is a source of constant confusion to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike. For most people, section 87 can be boiled down to subsection b, which exempts the “personal property of an Indian or Band situated on a reserve” from taxation.

https://anishinabeknews.ca/2020/11/25/opinion-some-thoughts-on-section-87-of-the-indian-act/

‘Spirits of our ancestor’: Shoal Lake 40 is rectifying a century of hardships

November 24, 2020

The buildings and streets of Winnipeg can be a painful reminder for some residents of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. All of that concrete was made possible because of the water that surrounds the Anishinaabe First Nation that straddles the Ontario-Manitoba border. More than a century ago, water from Shoal Lake started flowing into the City of Winnipeg, providing clean water for the growing community.

https://www.aptnnews.ca/facetoface/spirits-of-our-ancestor-shoal-lake-40-is-rectifying-a-century-of-hardships/

‘Idle No More’: Beausoleil First Nation activist says serious Indigenous issues still exist

November 24, 2020

An outspoken Indigenous activist from Beausoleil First Nation near Penetanguishene says the Idle No More movement continues to work to protect Indigenous rights, even though it is not making headlines like it did eight years ago. Tori Cress, an Idle No More organizer, said the movement has taken a more educational approach in recent years, keeping the public informed about serious issues directly affecting Indigenous lives.

https://www.simcoe.com/news-story/10271924–idle-no-more-beausoleil-first-nation-activist-says-serious-indigenous-issues-still-exist/

Why Tanya Talaga’s New Podcast ‘Seven Truths’ Should Be Your Next Listen

November 24, 2020

Tanya Talaga grew up feeling like she lived in two different worlds. The bestselling author spent most of her childhood, in the 1970s and ’80s, living just outside of Toronto. But every summer her family would visit the traditional territory of Fort William First Nation in northern Ontario, where her mother grew up and where many relatives still live. Talaga’s father was Polish and her mother was Anishinaabe, raised by residential school survivors.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/seven-truths-podcast-tanya-talaga_ca_5fbbf2a9c5b6e4b1ea44e195

This ribbon skirt honours Ireland Lacrosse for bowing out of the World Games

November 25, 2020

An Akwesasne mom’s love for lacrosse inspired a ribbon skirt that pays homage to Ireland’s national team for withdrawing from the next World Games to make room for the Iroquois Nationals.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/ireland-lacrosse-ribbon-skirt-1.5812907

Ontario Native Women’s Association’s poetry night moves online because of COVID-19

November 24, 2020

Ontario Native Women’s Association’s annual poetry night is looking different this year as it moves online because of COVID-19. This is the fifth annual Strong Hands Stop Violence poetry night, which aims to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. The event is in support of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/onwa-poetry-night-online-1.5813193

City council divided on Chippewa Park’s future

November 24, 2020

Uncertainty over the future of Chippewa Park has Thunder Bay’s city council divided on whether to continue investing in the attraction. The decision was made on a narrow 7-5 vote, after several councillors expressed concerns over unresolved claims to the park by Fort William First Nation and a perception of declining public interest in the park.

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/city-council-divided-on-chippewa-parks-future-2904964

Defending the rights of Indigenous women

November 24, 2020

Women in North America have come a long way over the past century in regards to having their rights recognized. Though there is still a ways to go in achieving equality with our male counterparts, feminist forces are relentless in their pursuit of justice, and continue to make steady headway.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2020/11/24/defending-the-rights-of-indigenous-women.html

Map gap: Where are treaty boundaries on digital maps?

November 24, 2020

Digital maps can find the nearest coffee shop, the boundaries of a neighbourhood or a street view of the house where you grew up. What they can’t find are fundamental pieces of Canadian geography: treaty territories.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7481144/canada-first-nations-treaties-google-digital-maps/

Ontario Deploys Rapid Testing to Support COVID-19 Response

November 24, 2020

The Ontario government has deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas. As an additional tool to help keep essential workers safe, rapid tests will also be used to screen staff in long-term care homes and select workplaces. These new tests will provide Ontarians with more access to innovative testing options and will help to quickly identify and manage outbreaks to stop the spread of COVID-19.

https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59330/ontario-deploys-rapid-testing-to-support-covid-19-response

Bouctouche First Nation family posts video of poor living conditions

November 24, 2020

A woman in Bouctouche First Nation in New Brunswick posted a Youtube video alleging her chief is ignoring the community’s housing shortage. “I might as well just go live in the woods or live in a ditch,” says Emily Sanipass. In the 30 minute video, the Sanipass family share their frustrations of poor living conditions  while they wait for a house.

https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/bouctouche-first-nation-family-posts-video-of-poor-living-conditions/

The Neil Stonechild case, decades later

November 25, 2020

Neil Stonechild. Rodney Naistus. Lawrence Wegner. Darrell Night. These are names I’ll not forget. They are as important to the story of Saskatoon and its relationship with Aboriginal people . The roles of Stonechild, Naistus, Wegner and Night in a painful, changeful period of the city’s recent history are central to the shameful story of the starlight tours.

https://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/betty-ann-adam-the-neil-stonechild-case-decades-later

Winnipeg woman using TikTok to highlight Indigenous culture and issues

November 24, 2020

A Winnipeg woman has taken to TikTok to shine a spotlight and educate others on Indigenous culture. Michelle Chubb, 23, said when she first started using the video-sharing app back in January, it was mostly about producing fun videos. Then, as she began to gain more followers, she decided to take advantage of the opportunity to provide more information about Indigenous people and the issues they are facing.

https://www.iheartradio.ca/virginradio/winnipeg/winnipeg-woman-using-tiktok-to-highlight-indigenous-culture-and-issues-1.14023499

Muskowekwan First Nation to construct healing lodge

November 24, 2020

The Muskowekwan First Nation has been approved to construct a $2 million Family Healing and Wellness Centre. Indigenous Services Canada approved the project. Muskowekwan will have log home packages prepared during the winter to be transported to the site for assembly in spring and summer 2021.

https://www.mbcradio.com/2020/11/muskowekwan-first-nation-to-construct-healing-lodge

First Nations control of education will require radically different systems than what’s gone before

November 24, 2020

First Nations chiefs in Alberta will remind the federal government in a symposium next year that First Nations-led education is a treaty right.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/first-nations-control-education-require-201232121.html

These Indigenous women are reshaping Canada’s tourism industry

November 25, 2020

Soothing broadleaf plantain. Even the humble dandelion, which can be used to fight inflammation, tells of the natural healing power of plants. But Brenda Holder—a woman of Cree descent who shares her peoples’ knowledge on tours through rural Alberta, Canada—says her preferred medicinal herb is fireweed, a fuchsia flowering plant that has both antibacterial and antiviral properties.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/2020/11/first-nations-women-tour-operators-challenging-stereotypes-in-canada/#close

Cree mom hunger striking against $4.7 billion development agreement with Quebec

November 24, 2020

A young, breastfeeding mother of seven is now one week deep into a hunger strike in the northern Quebec Cree community of Chisasibi, over a multi-billion dollar development agreement and what she says was a lack of consultation by Cree leaders.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/cree-grande-alliance-heather-house-development-1.5813842

Declaration of the AFNQL Council of Elected Women – International Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

November 25, 2020

The AFNQL Council of Elected Women wishes to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women . In Canada , Indigenous women and girls remain significantly more at risk than any other group of experiencing violence in all its forms. They are over-represented in the statistics of violent victimization, disappearance and homicide.

https://stockhouse.com/news/press-releases/2020/11/25/declaration-of-the-afnql-council-of-elected-women-international-day-of

A 15th Competency: Understanding and Learning to Fight Systemic Racism

November 25, 2020

The First Nations Education Council (FNEC), in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) and Institut Tshakapesh, are unveiling a 15th competency being recommended for teachers and teacher education programs.

https://educationnewscanada.com/article/education/region/quebec/26/868291/first-nations-education-in-quebecnovember-25-2020-a-15th-competency-understanding-and-learning-to-fight-systemic-racism.html

Innu Nation getting new search and rescue boats for Natuashish and Sheshatshiu

November 24, 2020

The two Innu communities in Labrador, Sheshatshiu and Natuashish, will each get a search and rescue boat under a federal government program. A news release from the Canadian Coast Guard on Tuesday said the two towns will receive $461,298 as part of the Indigenous Community Boat Volunteer Pilot Program, under the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan.

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/canada/innu-nation-getting-new-search-and-rescue-boats-for-natuashish-and-sheshatshiu-523971/

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs criticizes TV show for failing to acknowledge missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls crisis

November 25, 2020

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is joining other Indigenous groups and tribal leaders in asking the ABC Network to “address and rectify its incomplete depiction of violence against women and girls in its prime-time thriller Big Sky.”

https://www.saultstar.com/entertainment/union-of-b-c-indian-chiefs-criticizes-big-sky-for-failing-to-acknowledge-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls-crisis/wcm/d6ee3bfd-8da9-4bb2-b3fd-114732bf2507

New Okanagan Indian Band primary care clinic gives access to doctors on reserve

November 24, 2020

A new primary care clinic at the Okanagan Indian Band’s Health Centre is giving band members access to physicians on reserve. While the health centre was previously staffed by a variety of health professionals, Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) Chief Byron Louis said the new clinic adds doctors to the staff for the first time.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7481434/okanagan-indian-band-clinic-doctors/

Residential school healing fund set to end as First Nations leaders say demand for services growing

November 25, 2020

The future of a B.C. society established to provide support to residential school survivors is in limbo as a health fund born of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is set to run out in March 2021.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/residential-schools-end-healing-fund-1.5814505

Pushback against housing

November 24, 2020

Some residents living in the area around Cougar and Elk roads on Westbank First Nation lands are concerned about a supportive housing project proposed for the neighbourhood.

https://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/317325/Some-WFN-residents-pushing-back-on-proposed-supportive-housing-project

‘Spirit saved my life:’ Estelle Carmona opens up about pregnancy, birth and systemic racism

November 24, 2020

As part of IndigiNews’ ongoing look into Indigenous reproductive healthcare access, we are speaking to people about their birth experiences. As the snow started to fall, marking the beginning of the winter solstice, Estella Carmona was on her way to the hospital to give birth to her first daughter, Katiyana.

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/spirit-saved-life-estelle-carmona-012812102.html

Indigenous Man Files Human Rights Complaint Over Arrest At B.C. Bank

November 24, 2020

An Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/bc-indigenous-human-rights-complaint_ca_5fbd1d0cc5b61d04bfa46784

Indigenous leaders fight for bigger role in new N.W.T. university

November 24, 2020

Indigenous leaders in the N.W.T. are asking for a bigger role in Aurora College’s transition into a polytechnic university.  Hotıì ts’eeda, a research unit for the Tłı̨chǫ government, released a discussion paper earlier this month arguing for a new governance structure at the university.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/indigenous-leaders-fight-for-bigger-role-in-new-n-w-t-university-1.5814242

Why the Yukon’s Indigenous languages are disappearing, and what’s being done to get them back

November 24, 2020

For two hours a day, three days a week, Gus Morberg attends his language class over Zoom. As a citizen of Teslin Tlingit Council, a First Nation in the Yukon, Morberg, 40, is just learning to speak his ancestral language of Tlingit.

https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/why-the-yukons-indigenous-languages-are-disappearing-and-whats-being-done-to-get-them-back/

During COVID-19 pandemic, Nunavik community suffers from water woes

November 24, 2020

Washing your hands is one of the main ways that public health officials are urging people to help curb the transmission of COVID-19. But in the Hudson Bay community of Inukjuak, that can be hard to do. Some neighbourhoods in Inukjuak look like they are decked out for Christmas with red lights everywhere.

https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/during-covid-19-pandemic-nunavik-community-suffers-from-water-woes/

UPCOMING EVENTS

Notice: 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.

Chiefs of Ontario Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

November 13, 2020

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.

https://www.coo-covid19.com/

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/

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