For Immediate Release: 2020/05/11
Neyaashiinigmiing, ON: The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation (CNUFN) has taken the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously, putting in place a number of safety measures, including limiting access to the community. Another unique way the First Nation has been responding to the crisis takes advantage of their strong cultural ties to fishing, while helping out food banks at the same time.
Like many industries, the Chippewas of Nawash commercial fishing industry has been devastated by the virus, as most of the fish harvested is normally destined for the many now-closed restaurants and markets. The First Nation is proud to be working with their hardworking fishermen to redirect the flow of fish to food banks inside and outside the First Nation. This has two benefits. First, by providing fish and other foodstuffs within the community, the First Nation has reduced the number of trips community members need to make outside the community, lessening the chance they will be exposed to the virus. Second, fresh fish is a nutritious food, especially important to those facing food insecurity. This is particularly important due to the rise in unemployment as a result of imposed business closures.
The First Nation has provided 200 lbs of fillets to the Wiarton Salvation Army Food Bank, 200 lbs of fillets to the M’Wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre, 500 lbs of fillets to the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, 200 lbs of fillets to the Saugeen First Nation Food Bank and 2500 lbs of fillets to the Chippewas of Nawash Good Food Bank.
Captain Mary Millar of the Wiarton Salvation Army expressed the gratitude of food bank patrons on receiving fresh whitefish or salmon. “The fish from Nawash has been very well received,” she reported. “People have been overjoyed to see fresh fish because we don’t typically have things like that. Our clients have felt so happy and blessed when the option was offered. It’s been a real bright light for people who are in a difficult place.”
Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation is based on beautiful Neyaashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) on the Georgian Bay side of the Bruce Peninsula. Chippewas of Nawash is one half of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, whose traditional territory occupies much of southern Ontario, from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, south to Goderich, from Lake Huron to Collingwood. The Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation people are known for their hospitality, protection of the environment within their Traditional Territory, and vigorous defense of their long tradition of Indigenous commercial fishing.
It has come to our attention that there is some confusion regarding the expiration date of the hand sanitizer distributed to Neyaashiinigmiing residents. The date printed on the hand sanitizer containers is the date of production, not expiration. The batch was manufactured on various dates in April and purchased at fair-market value from an outside vendor, using funds from Indigenous Services Canada earmarked for pandemic response efforts.
Alcohol-based sanitizer does not expire predictably, but it does become less effective over time as the non-consumable alcohol evaporates. How long the sanitizer lasts depends largely on how it is stored, as the alcohol will evaporate from an open container much more quickly. Hand sanitizer will remain effective for at least two years if kept in a tightly-sealed container to prevent evaporation.
Physical health is closely related to emotional health, and nothing is more central to our emotional state than the well-being of our families. The Health Centre has arranged for Chippewas of Nawash members to attend a series of online seminars on family wellness, being offered by Aquilla Occupational Therapy. Read more about the seminar topics and contact the Community Health Nurse at email@example.com to sign up.
Testing Site Important Details
Where: Kikendaasogamig Elementary School
When: Tuesdays, May 12-26, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Bring: Health Card, if available
In partnership with Grey Bruce Public Health, an on-site testing centre will be set up at Kikendaasogamig Elementary School beginning Tuesday, May 12, and operating every Tuesday for the following two weeks. Nawash Health Centre staff will be present at all times.
At this time, the testing centre will only be testing Neyaashiinigmiing residents who may have symptoms of COVID-19. The testing centre will have both walk-in and drive-through options.
Anyone who receives a test will be required to self-isolate until the test results are returned in 3 – 4 days. If the test result is positive, you will be required to maintain self-isolation until you are free of the virus.
Again, note that not every resident will be tested. At this time, testing priority is being given to clients with symptoms first. Symptoms of COVID-19 are subtle in many people. If you aren’t sure if you are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to complete a self assessment on the Province of Ontario website.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or sneezing
- Nasal congestion or stuffy nose
- Hoarse voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
- Digestive issues – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
If you require a home visit to assess your symptoms, contact SpringDawn/CHN at 519-378-6028 or Cynthia Porter/HCC Nurse at 519-534-0373.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department.
When you arrive at the testing centre, please be ready to share the following information:
- Address and phone number
- Date of birth
- Health Card, if you have one
Staff will be wearing protective gear. You will be asked to:
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Wear the face mask provided.
- Describe your symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, tired, etc).
A Grey Bruce Public Health Nurse will take a swab sample as follows:
- You will tip your head back.
- A swap will be inserted into your nose and stay there for 10-15 seconds. This will feel uncomfortable.
- You will be given instructions on how to self-isolate and how to get your test results.
The testing centre is an important part of monitoring the health of the community during the pandemic, and will allow us to respond quickly should a case of COVID-19 appear in Neyaashiinigmiing. Our Health staff have the full support of the Council and are doing everything possible to keep the community safe during the pandemic. We are grateful for the immense patience and support of our residents.
We have received reports from the Neyaashiinigmiing Police that unauthorized campers have been found in Cape Croker Park, despite the Park closure. The Council is also concerned about the upcoming long weekend and the possibility that we may see campers attempting to access the Park over the holiday weekend.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents ongoing challenges to the safe operation of large public facilities like the Park. The Council and Cape Croker Park management want to remind the public that, in response to the continued risk of COVID-19 transmission, and our desire to delay infection in the community, the Park is completely closed to all patrons until further notice.
Cape Croker Park will not be open during the May Victoria Day long weekend. The Park is regularly patrolled by police and staff and persons violating the closure risk being cited for trespassing.
Would-be campers and non-residents should not attempt to enter the community. Note that provincial and federal parks are also closed until a minimum of May 31st. We know that this is disappointing to every supporter of our Park, and lovers of the great outdoors, but we advise people to stay home, at their primary residence, until we all receive official medical guidance that it is safe to move about again.
With great regret, the Council has decided to cancel the 2020 Nawash Pow-wow, as well as the annual Charity Golf Tournament, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The highly anticipated events are joint highlights of the summer, and require months of planning. Provincial leaders, however, are still only tentatively talking about re-opening the economy, and there is no clear direction yet what that re-opening might look like, or what schedule it will follow. Given the amount of uncertainty about the duration and severity of the pandemic, and the lack of detail in the provincial re-opening plan to date, Council determined that the Pow-wow and Golf Tournament could not be held safely and responsibly this year.
Chief Nadjiwon, summing up the discussion of Council, said, “Safety is our number one priority. We have to put these events off until we’re sure we can keep the residents and the visitors safe.”
It was not an easy decision to cancel two of the most high-profile events of the year, both of which are typically profitable and return much-needed funds to the community. The Neyaashiinigmiing pow-wow is well-known for its friendly and intimate atmosphere, and is traditionally hosted in the popular Cape Croker Park. The Park is also currently closed due to the pandemic and looks to remain shuttered throughout the normally busy summer camping season. The annual Charity Golf Tournament has always been well-attended by Neyaashiinigmiing members, government representatives of all levels, business partners and supporters of the community. The funds raised by the Tournament are directed towards community initiatives, most recently the new ice rink being constructed adjacent to the ball field.
Food banks have always been important to communities, helping residents in times of need. The support of food banks is now more critical than ever, as we try to maintain our social distance and avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket. The Nawash Food Bank has been blessed with donations from many people and organizations, including other food banks in the area who found extra to share with us from their own supplies. The Chief and Council are pleased to announce that Chippewas of Nawash is paying that generosity forward with donations of fresh-caught whitefish and salmon to area food banks.
Nawash fishing boats are the only ones on the water these days, making local fish a rarity. The Wiarton Salvation Army Food Bank, and Owen Sound M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre Food Bank each gratefully received 200 pounds of fresh whitefish and salmon, caught and packaged by Nawash fishermen and their crews. The Council and all of Chippewas of Nawash are happy to support local food banks, who are doing such good and vital work during the pandemic. We also hope that our members who live these communities, and may be in need, can visit the food banks and enjoy a taste of home. Chi-meegwech!
Chief Greg Nadjiwon has issued a video statement to the community.
Watch it here: YouTube
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.
- 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.
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse