The Chippewas of Nawash COVID-19 response has consumed significant First Nation resources. While the pandemic is far from over, according to most medical experts, the Council and Administration have published the spending on COVID-19 response to date, for community information.
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:
- School Mental Health Ontario
- Grey Bruce Health Unit: (519) 376-9420
- Mental Health Crisis Line of Grey/Bruce: 1 (877) 470-5200
- Kids Help Phone: 1 (800) 668-6868, Or text CONNECT to 686868
- Nawash Health Centre: (519) 534-0373
HCC Nurse: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHN Nurse: email@example.com
- Nawash Wellness Centre: (519) 534-3764
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.
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.
The section of the Bruce Trail that passes through Neyaashiinigmiing remains closed until further notice, as well as the Cape Croker Park. The Province of Ontario has begun a careful re-opening of some public outdoor spaces, for day use only, and the Bruce Trail Organization has followed suit by opening specific sections of the Bruce Trail for safely separated hiking. You can find details about which sections are opened on the Bruce Trail Organization website. Importantly, unless a section has been explicitly opened, that section remains closed, including Neyaashiinigmiing (also known as Cape Croker).
These are special places and we are blessed that they are part of our home. While we are anxious to share the natural beauty of our home with the public again, we will not do so until we are sure that we can open the trails and park safely and with as little risk to the community as possible. We ask that non-residents respect this temporary closure and refrain from attempting to enter Neyaashiinigmiing at this time. We look forward to the eventual safe re-opening of our natural attractions.
The Neyaashiinigmiing COVID-19 Testing Site will be operating again today Tuesday May 19, for drop-in or drive-by testing of anyone who may have flu-like symptoms. The Testing Site is open from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, at Kikendaasogamig Elementary School.
More details about the Testing Site can be found here.
Nawash Health Services is pleased to report that all community members tested so far have received NEGATIVE test results. To date, there have been ZERO identified cases of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing.
As difficult as recent months have been, this demonstrates that diligently following the protocol of maintaining physical distance, not gathering, and frequent hand washing is working to keep the community safe and virus-free. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay healthy!
We are all experiencing unprecedented times and uncertainty in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us continue to miss the personal contact with family, friends and loved ones. This is understandable, though these sacrifices are helping keep you, your family and the community safe from a COVID-19 outbreak and have contributed to seeing an encouraging downward trend in new cases across the province.
With the Spring weather and holiday weekend upon us, it becomes more tempting to engage in social gatherings. While there has been short-term positive progress in the fight against this pandemic, we all must remain diligent with physical distancing and personal protective practices in order to continue this positive trend and avoid a secondary spike in COVID-19 cases.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND CIVIL PROTECTION ACT
Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) the province has implemented many emergency orders for the purpose of controlling the spread of COVID-19 in communities. These orders remain in effect until at least May 19th, 2020 at which time the province may elect to extend some or all of these orders further.
While the province has recently amended some restrictions to essential services and retail outlets, an order under the EMCPA continues to prohibit public or social gatherings of greater than 5 persons. This does not apply to five or more persons who reside in the same household. This order applies to social gatherings on either public or private property. The Neyaashiinigmiing Police will take all reasonable and appropriate steps to achieve voluntary compliance through education. However, any person who fails or refuses to comply with this order is subject to a $750.00 fine under the EMCPA.
Let’s continue to protect and respect the most vulnerable in our community and get through this pandemic safely and in good health.
Vince Wurfel- Supervisor
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.