Contained Fires Will Be Allowed

The Chippewas of Nawash Fire Department and the Chief and Council would like to thank the community for their cooperation in refraining from having fires during the Covid-19 crisis. Although we are not out of the woods yet, with respect to the pandemic, we are confident enough in our response that we are going to allow sacred fires, fires for cooking and warmth, and burning barrels.
For safety, ensure that all fires are contained and that you have water or sand nearby to extinguish the fire after you are done. We ask that you CONTINUE TO REFRAIN from having grass fires and bonfires.
Please be mindful of the ongoing social distancing measures. Lifting the fire ban does not mean that we should be gathering with people outside our households, or having friends over to socialize around the fire. All residents are asked to maintain their social distance and not abuse the partial lifting of the fire ban.
We thank you for your patience and support.
Chippewas of Nawash Fire Dept
Chief and Council

Gloves versus Hands

Some of us may think it’s best to wear rubber gloves when we do our necessary shopping. I want to explain why you are no safer wearing gloves when you go out, than if your hands are bare.

First, note that COVID-19 cannot enter your body through your skin. It enters through your nose, eyes and mouth. This means that grocery shopping isn’t as scary as some sites on the internet have made out, provided you follow the guidelines we’ve all heard so often: remain 6 feet apart from others not from your household, and wash your hands frequently.

Second, it doesn’t matter how the corona virus gets to your face; once it’s there, you are at risk. Whether you touch your face with contaminated hands, gloves or objects (i.e. contaminated shirt), there is a chance of you contracting the virus.

If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch something else, you may have just spread the virus. If you touch a contaminated surface with either your gloved or bare hand, and then touch your face, you may have put yourself at risk of infection. There is also some evidence that the coronavirus may actually stick better to the gloves.

Wearing gloves may even increase your risk by giving you a false sense of security. While wearing gloves you may not be as mindful of what you are doing and how you may be contaminating other surfaces.

For example, you wear your gloves to the grocery store and then decide to stop into the pharmacy. It’s only a short ride, or you don’t have many gloves left, so you decide to wear the gloves in the car rather than changing them. If your gloves were contaminated in the grocery store, you may have now contaminated your steering wheel and other areas of your car.

Instead of wearing a fresh pair of gloves at every stop, or risking contamination, it’s much easier to use hand sanitizer on your bare hands as you leave one business and before you enter the next.

If you wear gloves, you must take them off properly to reduce the risk of contaminating yourself. Follow the directions below to safely remove used gloves.

Finally, a few DO’s and DON’Ts to remember:

  • DON’T touch environmental surfaces – eg: door handles, a keyboard, a computer mouse – with contaminated gloves
  • DON’T touch your face or adjust PPE with contaminated gloves
  • DON’T remove one glove, and then pull the other glove off by the fingertips
  • DON’T reuse disposable gloves once they have been removed
  • DO Be sure that you wash your hands before putting gloves on and after taking gloves off.
  • DO change gloves when heavily soiled or if torn
  • DO dispose of used gloves appropriately,

Stay strong!  You can help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Together, we can do this.

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

Health and Well-Being of Indigenous Children and Youth 

Ian Reich, Public Health Manager with the Grey Bruce Health Unit has the following message for the community:

Considerations for Parents and Caregivers

We acknowledge that Indigenous families have had to alter their traditional ways of gathering and learning through celebrations, feasts and dances during COVID-19. The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health created a fact sheet to support parents and caregivers during this time of physical distancing and staying at home. 

The fact sheet provides guidance with an Indigenous focus to coping with COVID-19 in addition to practicing recommended public health measures. The following is a summary of that fact sheet, see the original resource titled Maintaining the Health and Well-Being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Teens during COVID-19 for more detailed information.

Remember to practice public health measures

  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Try not to touch your face. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Stay home when you can. 
  • Practice physical distancing by keeping a distance of 2 metres from people not from your household. 

Things to remember when speaking with children and youth about COVID-19

  • Speak kindly and repeat key ideas.
  • Allow for many questions but limit how much you say in each conversation.
  • Use credible information from trusted sources to answer questions. 
  • Focus on ways they can protect themselves and others around them.

Strategies for well-being

  • Respect guidelines about physical distancing and stay home as much as possible.
  • Refrain from gatherings and celebrations to protect Elders who are at higher risk of contracting the virus and experiencing more severe consequences.
  • Find creative ways to express the importance of connections to community, culture and ceremony.
  • Explore online options with your children regarding Indigenous-specific cooking classes, workshops, concerts, books, and dances. 
  • Learn about the 4 R’s Youth Movement that is a youth-driven initiative connecting change makers across the country. 
  • Visit Connect with Culture for Life for Indigenous Youth who know the value of culture and living their best life, but need a little help getting there. 
  • Keep active in the absence of school, sports teams, and recreation centre activities. 
  • Take family walks and try to identify plants, birds, animals and local medicines.

Create an outlet for emotional expressions 

Children and youth will be missing their friends, family and regular activities. They may feel sad, lonely, or bored. They may also feel anxious, scared or worried about getting sick or passing the illness on to an Elder. How can parents and caregivers help?

  • Listen to and acknowledge your children’s worries.
  • Comfort them and help them find activities to calm their spirits like colouring, drawing, journaling, painting, breathing, meditating, or playing board games with the family. 
  • Connect through online entertainment that focuses on Indigenous games, stories and videos such as:
  • If you are concerned about your child or youth, connect to emergency services:

Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868

First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310

Teen Line at 1-800-852-8336 or text TEEN to 839863


National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous HealthMaintaining Health and Well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children and Youth during COVID-19

Assembly of First NationsCoronavirus information

First Nations Health Authority – Staying Connected during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Crisis Support is Available

The Nawash Wellness Centre would like to remind everyone that support resources are still available during this period of relative isolation, from both inside and outside Neyaashiinigmiing. If you are feeling vulnerable, scared or alone, for any reason, please call any of these available services for friendly and compassionate assistance.

Neyaashiinigmiing Stay-At-Home Guidelines Extended Until May 29th

We are cautiously hopeful that the spread of COVID-19 has reached a plateau in Ontario, but there is not yet a statistical decline in cases. The province wants to see a consistent two-to-four week decline in new cases before it begins re-opening the economy. The Council has voted to align with the provincial plans and extend the stay-at-home guidelines in the community until May 29th. Community safety is the top priority of the Council, so the situation will be reassessed during the week of May 19/20 to determine if the community can be safely opened on May 29th, or if the stay-at-home guidelines will be extended yet further.

The extension of the stay-at-home guidelines means that we will maintain the policies that have kept our community free of COVID-19 infection thus far. Non-essential Band programs will remain closed and non-essential Band staff will remain home until May 29th. Designated essential staff will continue to work remotely or on reduced hours, according to their program requirements. The elementary school will also remain closed during this period.

The Chief and Council are grateful for the community’s continued support and patience during this incredibly difficult period. We understand that this is immensely frustrating and challenging, for all of us, but we cannot afford to let our guard down now, out of impatience at the weeks and months spent at home. As the province tentatively seems to have reached a peak in the pandemic, and a decline in cases is forecast, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay strong and we will get through this, together.

Home is School is Home

We’re all spending a lot of time during this pandemic at home with Netflix and baking, and likely running out of other things to do. Why not try one of literally hundreds of free online courses that institutions and companies have made available for free?

Before you jump in, start with a couple of short programs from Humber College and Carleton University, about how to successfully complete an online course, where you are the only one responsible for your time and focus.  Successful students don’t forget to be mindful of their own mental health needs as well, as this course on self-care and resilience from Laurier University teaches.

Then consider surfing over to, where you can sign up for free, and search almost 2000 free courses, ranging from cooking to computers, psychology to sewing. Duolingo offers free language classes so you can express your desire to get out of the house in 35 different languages. Want to study at Harvard? You can do that. Yale? Sign me up. MIT? Think big!

With your new found skills, plus the ones you already have, you may want to start your own business to capitalize on your hard work. Check out McMaster University’s free course on how to Be Your Own Boss.

The Adult Learning Centre wants to remind you that with the vast reach of the Internet, knowledge is just a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a screen away! Make your time at home more interesting and more productive while we wait for the world to re-open.

How to Wear a Face Mask

You have started to see face masks become more common as people take action to protect their communities and themselves from the COVID-19 virus. While face masks have a small protective effect when worn by people who are not ill, they are much more effective in preventing the spread of disease when worn by people who are ill. For the sake of caution, many of us are acting as if we have the virus already, and doing whatever we can to avoid spreading it, including wearing face masks. To help, our Community Health Nurse has prepared a useful video on how to properly use a face mask.

Watch in on YouTube.

Health Centre Committed to Information Sharing

We are all a little nervous about getting sick with the COVID-19 virus, particularly with all of the rumors and misinformation circulating in the community. I would like to help put your mind at ease.

People get sick, whether it’s with allergies, asthma, cold/flu or an exacerbation of a chronic illness. I know that when you hear that someone is “sick” the first reaction is to think of the coronavirus, but not everyone seeking medical advice, going to the hospital or out by ambulance has COVID-19.

Please, try not to become anxious when someone is needing to look after their health.

In the event that someone in the community tests positive for COVID-19, the Community Health Nurse (CHN), SpringDawn Keeshig, will be notified by Grey/Bruce Health Unit. She will share that there is a positive case in the community, with no other details. At this time, there is no one in Neyaashiinigmiing who has tested positive for COVID-19.

You can protect yourself by continuing to remain 6 feet/2 meters away from others and washing your hands often.

Please respect everyone’s right to confidentiality by not following the ambulance that comes into the community, gossiping about other people’s health or asking questions from health care professionals that cannot be answered.

It is the Health Centre’s mission to support the community’s health and safety, and our goal to keep everyone informed with the most current health information available to us.

Stay strong!  You can help stop the spread of COVID-19.  Together, we can do this.

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

The Truth About Social Distancing

These ideas have come from an open letter written by Professor Jonathon Smith, a lecturer in epidemiology at Yale University while completing a PhD at Emory University.

There are two truths about social distancing that should be emphasized and clarified.

  • Social distancing is tiresome and frustrating, but it does work.
  • The people you live with are like a chain in which the weakest link can affect the entire household.

We are still in the early stages of the pandemic. That means that no matter what we do, there will still be new cases of COVID-19 and even more deaths. However, this does not mean that social distancing is not working. In fact, by staying 6 feet or 2 meters away from each other, you are reducing the number of new cases.

You may feel discouraged as you see the number of cases rise. You shouldn’t. This is the normal path of a pandemic. Stay calm. Everyone must hold the line and continue their social distancing as the pandemic most certainly will get worse. Stay strong knowing that what you are doing by isolating is saving people’s lives.

As you self-isolate, you are decreasing your contact with others in the community, but you are increasing your time with your family. If you consider your family as a chain, one link holding onto the next. As long as the chain stays strong, it will stay together. However, if there is one weak link, the chain may fall apart. In the family, if one person puts themselves at risk, they become the weak link. They are putting everyone in the household at risk.

For example:

  • If your son visits his girlfriend and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor.
  • Your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with.

Social distancing is about community members working together in unison. There must be continued self-isolation before results can be seen. By knowing what to expect and knowing the critical importance of maintaining these measures, the hope is to encourage continued community spirit and steadfastness in social distancing.

“Even once the war ended, famously on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the flu’s devastation did not let up. In spontaneous celebrations marking the armistice, ecstatic Americans jammed city streets to celebrate the end of the “Great War,” Philadelphians again flocked to Broad Street, even though health officials knew that close contact in crowds might set off a new round of influenza cases. And it did.”

(Davis, Kenneth C. “Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu.”, Smithsonian Institution,21 Sept. 2018,

Stay strong! You can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Together, we’ve got this.

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse