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Manitoba First Nations stepped up to tackle COVID-19 since first confirmed case a year ago

Manitoba First Nations stepped up to tackle COVID-19 since first confirmed case a year ago

By Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative ReporterWinnipeg Sun

Sat., March 13, 20213 min. read

Early Newspaper

First Nations have stepped up vastly since the first presumptive certain case of COVID-19 was confirmed by Manitoba a year ago.

Via many challenges and hardships, First Nation communities and organizations have tried their greatest to support and advocate for Manitoba First Nation voters.

“One year ago, we didn’t know grand about the COVID-19 virus,” said Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Sofa in a press release.

“We had shared a message encouraging First Nations voters, saying that the danger of contracting COVID-19 in Northern Manitoba was low but increasing. We started promoting public health measures such as washing your hands thoroughly on a regular basis.”

For six months, Northern Manitoba efficiently saved the virus away from their communities. Nonetheless, in September of last year, the Northern Health Location saw its first case.

“One year into the pandemic, and we have witnessed a couple of MKO communities efficiently answer to outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus in their First Nations. I commend the leadership for his or her strength and devotion to maintaining their communities safe,” said Sofa.

Many Indigenous leaders have taken the reins to provide tough leadership at some point of the pandemic. For instance, Lake Manitoba First Nation Chief Cornell Mclean and his council took immediate action as soon as they heard about the virus.

When it came to the pandemic response, Lake Manitoba First Nation skilled entire neighborhood purchase-in with its vaccine safety awareness campaign and its strategy to disclose freezers crammed with meat packs for each Elder in the neighborhood.

Assorted communities care for Brokenhead Ojibway Nation reported zero COVID-19 deaths due to the efforts of Health Director Aleisha Desjarlais and diversified neighborhood individuals.

Since the start of the outbreak, there have been 10,419 COVID-19 cases on-reserve and off-reserve as of Thursday. First Nations recorded 16% of all deaths in the province.

“Today, we mourn the lack of 150 First Nation voters, and grieve with their families and family individuals,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO).

“These families are feeling the losses today and each day, robbed by the virus of the chance to say their accurate-byes. We honour these lives, and all the health professionals who risked their lives to strive to save them.”

Leadership from First Nations have previously talked about that many factors make a contribution to the rising variety of cases in First Nations together with the continuing impact of colonization, systemic racism and economic apartheid resulting in overcrowding housing, heart-broken water quality, food insecurity and runt health services.

Earlier this year, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister blamed Indigenous leaders for the increasing case numbers seen in First Nations in Manitoba. First Nation leaders care for Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson skipped over the premier’s disparaging comments and instead provided advice to successfully curb the spread of COVID-19.

“You can maintain retain an eye on in case you enact contact tracing and monitor cases and monitor individuals coming and going. Ought to you implement checkpoints and curfews, you can retain your numbers very low,” said Hudson.

“By training our frontline nurses, health and safety staff to flee exams in our facility, collecting these samples… we can gain a valuable ground in fighting this pandemic.”



First Nations are beginning to take a step towards self-determination by locking down their borders and incorporating take a look at stops for these coming in and out of the neighborhood. That is greatest the first of what they may achieve as a Nation sooner or later.

Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Authorities of Canada.

Manitoba First Nations stepped up to tackle COVID-19 since first confirmed case a year ago