Community to Remain Closed Until State of Emergency is Lifted

The Council has been considering the challenge of safely reopening the community to off-reserve members, cottagers and campers while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Even while the province cautiously reopens outside Neyaashiinigmiing, we are taking a slow and and deliberate approach to the issue. At the June 19, 2020 Council session, the Council passed a motion keeping cottages and the Cape Croker Park closed until the State of Emergency is lifted.  Currently, the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing  is in place until at least June 30, 2020. The Council will reassess the situation at a planned meeting on June 24, 2020 and determine if we are ready to lift the State of Emergency on June 30, or if another extension is required.

Staff are working closely with the Community Emergency Response Group to finish the reopening plan. The plan will be shared with the membership when it is complete, and before steps are taken to relax access restrictions to the community. We recognize that this is a big step for the entire community to take and we feel that the residents of Neyaashiinigmiing should be the first informed when we open our doors again.

Chief Nadjiwon has prepared a video statement on the Council’s decision. Watch it on YouTube.

Council Extends Emergency Closure Until June 30

The Chief and Council, in consultation with the Nawash Health Centre, and in consideration of Ontario’s extension of the State of Emergency until June 19, have decided to extend the emergency closure of non-essential Chippewas of Nawash programs until June 30, 2020.

Recent news has not been as dramatic as at the start of the pandemic, but the COVID-19 remains a serious risk. The virus is still spreading by community contact and there is no vaccine or specific treatment. Like all communities across Ontario, we are aligning our plans with those of the Province in order to maximize public safety and reduce the risk of an sudden outbreak. There is further work to be done to physically prepare work spaces for the return of employees and customers, and also in drafting new workplace protocols that will allow colleagues and clients to interact with a minimum risk of disease transmission. These are important steps that we must get right the first time.

We have been extremely fortunate in not having identified any positive COVID-19 cases in the community. Neyaashiinigmiing’s success is avoiding an outbreak is owing to the diligence of the entire community in respecting safety protocols. While we all want to see a safe re-opening of the community, it will take time and continued commitment to all we’ve done so far to slow the spread of the virus. We are grateful for the community’s support and patience as we navigate these difficult waters. Together, we can get safely to the other side.

Nawash HelloFresh Registrations Still Being Accepted

To assist members off-reserve, the Council is working with the HelloFresh Canada meal delivery service. HelloFresh packages meal ingredients and recipes into one convenient box and delivers them directly to the home. Under the Nawash HelloFresh Program, which will operate until June 18, off-reserve member households in Canada can select 4 recipes from HelloFresh, for delivery to their home. Applicants to the program must be a Chippewas of Nawash Band Member, living off-reserve in Canada.

Applications are still open, but time is running out! Visit the Nawash HelloFresh Registration page for more information on the program and to apply online.

Neyaashiinigmiing Still COVID-19 Free

As of this posting, the results for all COVID-19 tests administered in Neyaashiinigmiing have come back NEGATIVE. The testing clinic is not being rescheduled at this time, but the Nawash Health Centre will arrange for testing at home, by request. Please contact Springdawn Keeshig, Community Health Nurse, at 519-534-0373 to book a home test. Home tests will be performed by a public health nurse from the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

The Council is extremely pleased and grateful that the community has pulled together and helped us avoid the virus thus far. Thank you to every resident and family member that has contributed to our health and safety.

The Council is also especially thankful to the Nawash Health Centre staff for their careful guidance during this unprecedented crisis. The pandemic is ongoing and while we adjust to our new normal, we realize just how lucky we are to have such knowledgeable and dedicated people at our side.

Even as we cautiously move towards reopening our workplaces and services, we urge all residents to maintain the protocols that have kept us healthy: maintain physical distance of 2 meters from people not in your household, wash your hands frequently, avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.

Stay strong, stay safe, and stay healthy!

Observe Physical Distancing Even When Outside

Warmer weather is (finally) starting to descend on us. With the higher temperatures we understand some residents will be heading for the water.

Please remember that access to Neyaashiinigmiing remains restricted to residents of the community. This restriction, put in place to protect the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, includes all waterfront in Neyaashiinigmiing. Non-residents may not enter the community by water at this time.

If you do take to the beaches and swimming spots to cool off, be mindful of the safety of everyone in the community, including yourself. Watch your children as they swim, and please observe physical distancing and remain at least 2 meters at all times from people not from your household.

Cool down, but most importantly, stay strong, stay safe and stay healthy!

Chippewas of Nawash Offers Food Support to Off-Reserve Members

The Chippewas of Nawash is pleased to announce the launch of a food support program for off-reserve members. The Council understands that the COVID-19 crisis has increased the stress on all households, whether that is caused by a lack of employment, or the health concerns of risking infection by simply shopping for groceries. In response Council has increased the resources of the Nawash Food Bank significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, so that it is better able to serve the community. We know, however, that our members are struggling everywhere during this difficult time. To assist members off-reserve, the Council is working with HelloFresh Canada, a meal subscription service. HelloFresh packages meal ingredients and recipes into one convenient box and delivers them directly to the home.

Under the Nawash HelloFresh Program, which will operate from June 7 to June 18, off-reserve member households in Canada can select 4 recipes from HelloFresh, for delivery to their home. Applicants to the program must be a Chippewas of Nawash Band Member, living off-reserve in Canada.

Applications open today, May 28th. Visit the Nawash HelloFresh Registration page for more information on the program and how to apply.

School to Remain Closed for Remainder of Semester

The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Board of Education have carefully monitored the developments of the pandemic. In the interest of protecting the health and safety of our children, families, staff and community, the Kikendaasogamig Elementary School will remain closed until the end of June.

The Board recognizes that education instruction and learning has taken an unusual turn in light of the current circumstances.  We also know, however, that our students, families and staff have risen to the challenges and shown determination and commitment to their educational achievements.

We will continue to work toward the evolution of education through 2020. Creative ways to acknowledge graduation milestones for students of grade 8 and grade 12 are currently being explored.   A Summer Learning Initiative is also being considered to not only combat summer learning loss, but to maintain connections with other students and teachers, support students with special learning needs and to further prepare students for fall 2020.

The standard school year format is currently being researched and examined to not only accommodate the potential continuation of online learning, but also to be more balanced and inclusive of land-based learning and the unique culture of our community and our nation.

For social or emotional supports, please contact one of the following health or mental health resources:

Neyaashiinigmiing Testing and Results

COVID-19 Testing Update: The Nawash Health Centre is pleased to report that the results for all tests conducted at the May 12 and May 19 test clinics are NEGATIVE. There are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Neyaashiinigmiing at this time.

Tuesday, May 26 is the last scheduled day of testing. The Testing Clinic will be open from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, at the Kikendaasogamig Elementary School, for walk-in or drive-by testing. There is no cost for the test, but please bring your health card if you have one.

More details about the Testing Site can be found here.

Neyaashiinigmiing Emergency Closure Extended to June 12

The Council has extended the closure of non-essential band programs until June 12th, 2020. All current staff and salary arrangements will remain in place until further notice. If you have questions about a particular program, please direct your questions to that program’s supervisor. All program supervisors are available by email during the closure.

The emergency closure of programs was implemented on March 16th, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and was previously extended to May 29th. A reassessment was planned for the week of May 19, to determine if band services could be restarted safely. This week, the Council and professional staff of the Nawash Health Centre looked at our state of preparations to re-open and decided that it is still too early for Nawash to call non-essential staff back to work.

It is critical to remember that reopening does not mean that everything will go back to how it was before COVID-19 struck the world. There is still no vaccine or recommended treatment for the virus. It can still be fatal, often unpredictably. While it was initially reported that children were barely affected by COVID-19, we are learning that the virus, in thankfully uncommon cases, can cause significant and life-threatening symptoms in children as well. As far as we know, most people have not contracted COVID-19, so there is still a significant risk of a serious outbreak in the province, or even in our own community. All of this means that we are not out of the woods yet, despite the urgent need to restart the economy safely. As we look for a way to live with the virus, we must maintain the protocols that have kept us safe thus far: physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and limited contact with people from outside our own households.

The Council is working diligently towards re-opening the community, in a manner that is responsible, respectful, and most importantly safe. The new normal for services everywhere will be significantly different from the pre-pandemic world. All workplaces and publicly maintained spaces will have more stringent cleaning and sterilization requirements. Employees and clients will be required to wear masks and other personal protective equipment, as appropriate, and workplaces will be renovated and retrofitted to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Right now, however, employers across the country have the same goal of getting back to work and the resources we need are more difficult to find than normal. We ask for the community’s patience and support while we take the necessary steps to ensure that we can deliver services in a safe and reliable manner to the public, and keep all of our employees safe at the same time.