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 Coursera.org, 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.com, Smithsonian Institution,21 Sept. 2018,https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/philadelphia-threw-wwi-parade-gave-thousands-onlookers-flu-180970372/.)

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

Thank you,
Cynthia Porter, Reg. Nurse

Food Bank Volunteers Working to Keep the Community Safe

While most of us are sheltering at home and maintaining social distance, the Nawash Food Bank volunteers are working hard all week to keep the food and necessaries stocked and organized. The Food Bank is available to all Neyaashiinigmiing residents, and may be accessed twice monthly by each household.

While the Food Bank is open for public pick-up on Tuesdays, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and Thursdays, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, the volunteer organization would prefer that you take advantage of their delivery service. Call the Maadookii Seniors Centre, or the Daycare to arrange for safe, convenient delivery, and avoid crowding and outdoor line-ups at the Community Centre. If you do visit the Food Bank in person, please remember to stay safe and keep your distance from other patrons, even if you know them well.

The Maadookii Seniors Centre telephone number is 519-534-4918. The Nawash Nshiime Daycare telephone number is 519-534-3909. Call today to arrange your free food delivery!

Dedicated Help Line for Indigenous People Applying for Federal Benefits

The Federal government has relaxed some regulations around who can apply for and receive Employment Insurance, and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and made benefits retroactive in some  cases as well. Reports indicate that applicants are receiving funds under the programs in under a week. These developments have made the Chippewas of Nawash Small Business/Entrepreneur Living Wage Program no longer necessary. The Chief and Council have closed the Living Wage Program as of April 11, 2020. Members are urged to apply for Federal Employment Insurance benefits or CERB, as soon as possible.

The Business and Employment Support Worker is available to assist members making applications under these Federal programs.

Service Canada has also announced a dedicated toll-free phone line for First Nations members who need help with applications for both Employment Insurance and the CERB. The number for Service Canada’s Outreach Support Centre Line is 1-877-631-2657.

Band Office Temporarily Closed

To all community members:

An employee in the band office has developed flu-like symptoms and is resting at home. The employee has consulted a doctor and the symptoms do NOT indicate a COVID-19 test is necessary. The employee is taking medical advice to self-quarantine for 14 days, in case the illness should worsen or develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Out of a similar abundance of caution, the Band Office will be closed to employees and the public until Monday, April 27th. The Council is being extremely vigilant for signs of illness in the community. During the closure, the Band Office will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, to ensure the environment is safe for the return of essential employees. Payroll for all Band staff will still be processed despite the closure.

Again, this is NOT considered a possible case of COVID-19. The Community Health Nurse is diligent in investigating any reports of flu-like illness or symptoms in the community, and to date there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Neyaashiinigmiing.  If a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified in the community that information will be shared with the community by Health Services and the Chief and Council.

We urge all residents to continue to follow all the safety protocols that have been recently issued. Observe social distancing; hand wash frequently; do not gather; stay home except for essential trips out.

If you are personally experiencing flu-like symptoms, please call the Community Health Nurse, Springdawn Keeshig, at 519-378-6028 for assessment and advice on what to do next.

We understand that social distancing and staying home is difficult, but be assured that it is working. So far we have been able to avoid a single positive case of COVID-19 in the community. Please be strong in your resolve and help keep our community safe!

Chief Greg Nadjiwon and Council

Food Bank Serving the Entire Community

Maintaining social distance can be a challenge as your shelves begin to empty. It may seem like a trip to town for groceries is inevitable, but remember that the Food Bank is now serving all residents twice weekly. Using the Food Bank helps us by reducing the risk of the COVID-19 virus being carried in from the outside by an unsuspecting food shopper.

The Food Bank is supplying civic-minded residents with a selection of quality food products, including dairy and meat. The food bank is open twice weekly, Tuesdays from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, and Thursdays 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and residents may access the service twice monthly.

Maadookii Closed to the Public

For the added safety of our Maadookii residents during the pandemic, the building will be closed to the public until further notice. Access to the Maadookii will be restricted to residents, staff, and caregivers only.

The COVID-19 virus is particularly dangerous to the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. Please respect the health and safety of our cherished Maadookii residents and do not enter the building at any time without the express approval of the Maadookii supervisor.

Vehicles Required to Come to a Complete Stop at Monitoring Station

In response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, access to the reserve is restricted, by a Band Council Resolution, to residents and essential services only. The Sydney Bay Road was closed, and a monitoring station put in place at the Coveney’s Road entrance to ensure that residents are complying with the restricted access direction. 

The Chief and Council are gravely concerned that some community members are not stopping at the monitoring station on Coveney’s Road when entering Neyaashiinigmiing, and instead speeding by the monitors or merely slowing down to wave. This moving traffic is dangerous for the monitors, who work alongside the road performing an essential service for the community. It is also dangerous to the community as a whole if vehicles are not stopping because they are bringing non-residents into the community, who may potentially be carrying the virus.

All drivers are reminded that they must come to a complete stop when entering the community and identify themselves and their passengers to the monitors. Drivers that do not stop may face a fine. 

We understand that this is an inconvenience of a minute or so, but it is just one of the necessary measures being implemented by the Chief and Council to keep the community safe. For the sake of all our relations, we must isolate the community as much as possible to reduce the risk of the virus gaining a foothold in the community.

Please do your part! 

  • Practice social distancing; do not gather.
  • Hand wash frequently.
  • Stay home except for essential trips.
  • Utilize the Food Bank.
  • Do not bring non-residents into the community.