Council Extends State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing

At the August 21, 2020 Council meeting, the Chippewas of Nawash Council voted to accept the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group and extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing until September 30, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, making the possibility of a viral outbreak a real and significant threat to the community. While the constant adherence to the well-known safety protocols of wearing face masks, washing hands, maintaining physical distance from other people and avoiding gatherings is challenging, Neyaashiinigmiing cannot afford to become less vigilant.

Under the current State of Emergency, the Council temporarily shuttered non-essential band programs while maintaining employee pay, offered wage support to small businesses and employees, significantly expanded the operations of the Community Food Bank, distributed food boxes to non-resident member households and grocery cards to all member households, cancelled risky public gatherings and events, restricted outside access to Neyaashiinigmiing, installed a monitoring station to help ensure compliance with restrictions, and created a community-wide face covering policy. These actions, and others have kept us all safe and dramatically reduced the economic harm of the pandemic to all our members.

The Council recently moved to relax some restrictions, allowing non-resident members, seasonal campers, and registered leaseholders into the community. We are now entering another delicate phase with the start of the school year. Classes will be held at Kikendaasogamig Elementary,  albeit in a safer, heavily modified fashion, beginning with online classes on September 8, moving to in-person classes on September 21. During this period, the Council will carefully assess the initiatives put in place to determine our next steps forward.

We are grateful for the patience and strength the entire membership has shown over the past 6 months. Together we will persevere, stay focused and stay healthy.

Grey Bruce Medical Officer Extends Face Covering Order

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, despite a downward trend in cases in the province. With a vaccine still on the horizon and few effective treatments for those suffering the worst effects, the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak remains a real threat. Dr. Ian Arra, the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, has consequently extended the class order requiring the use of face coverings in all commercial establishments, until September 11. Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Council has a parallel order in place, covering Neyaashiinigmiing businesses and Administration workplaces.

The best advice of medical professionals is that, without a cure or reliable treatment, we should do everything we can to avoid spreading the disease in the first place. Widespread mask use, in combination with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, has been definitively shown to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. When leaving your home, remember to take and wear your mask when you are near people not from your household, or whenever you enter a building that is not your home.

State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing Extended

After reviewing available data and discussing present circumstances with Dr. Arra, the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, the Council has accepted the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group to extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing until September 1, 2020.  We are gradually moving toward a full re-opening of the community, but we will only do so in alignment with the Council’s strategy of phased re-opening with significant monitoring of the effect of each phase on the health of the community.

Recent steps to begin the re-opening started with seasonal campers and registered leaseholders because these smaller, well-defined groups can be easily monitored for compliance with safety protocols. It would be irresponsible at this point in the pandemic to open up the community widely, with no practical way to assess if the large number of visitors we might expect are behaving in a safe manner. The Council will not risk the health of Neyaashiinigmiing residents by removing the monitors or access restrictions in haste, or without clear medical and operational guidance that it can be done safely.

The State of Emergency allows the Council to take the extraordinary actions required to manage our interests in the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council will reassess the need for the State of Emergency again in the week before the current expiry date of September 1, 2020. We are grateful for your continued patience and support and look forward to returning the community to some normalcy in the days to come.

Rules for Non-Resident Members Visiting Neyaashiinigmiing

Beginning  July 6, 2020, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation will welcome non-resident band members who wish to visit the community. Safety precautions are being taken to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19, and to protect the health of both community and non-resident members.

Please read the following safety restrictions. If you feel you cannot follow these restrictions, plan your visit for another time.

  1. All persons shall comply with Council motions, federal, and provincial orders, legislation and recommendations relating to COVID-19 pandemic and curbing its spread
  2. No person experiencing COVID-19 symptoms shall enter Chippewas of Nawash lands
  3. No person who has received a positive COVID-19 test result, or who has pending results of a test, may enter Chippewas of Nawash Lands until they receive a negative test result
  4. No person who has been in close contact with someone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or someone who has taken a COVID-19 test, shall enter Chippewas of Nawash lands for a period of 14 days from date of that contact, or until that person has received a negative COVID-19 test result
  5. Any person developing COVID-19 symptoms while visiting Chippewas of Nawash shall immediately self-isolate for a period of 14 days
  6. There shall be no group gatherings of more than 10 people
  7. Each person shall maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres/6 feet from any person who is not a member of their household.
  8. If safe physical distancing cannot be maintained, a mask covering nose and mouth must be worn by all people within that space.

We will be collecting some information to facilitate contact tracing in the event of a positive or suspected COVID-19 case, and to assist in efficient transit at the monitoring station. This helps protect everyone.  The collected contact information will be kept confidential and will only be used for the specific purpose of contact tracing, and only if required.  All collected contact information will be destroyed 6 months after it is collected, or when the state of emergency is withdrawn by Council, whichever is sooner.

A visiting non-resident band member must submit a request to the Health Centre a minimum of two business days prior to the date of arrival providing the following information:

  • the full name, permanent address and phone number of each person in your visiting group
  • the make, model and vehicle plate number of each vehicle a visitor or group who wishes to enter the reserve will be using
  • where the visitor will be staying while in Neyaashiinigmiing
  • the intended duration of the visitor’s stay

Contact Suzy Jones, Community Health Representative with your information.

Email: healthrep@gbtel.ca

Office Phone: 519-534-0373 ext 224

Cell phone (text or call): 519-375-6896

Council Extends Neyaashiinigmiing State of Emergency to July 31

The Council voted today to once again extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing, until July 31. This decision comes on the heels of Ontario extending the Provincial State of Emergency until July 15th. The Council is giving safety the highest priority as Neyaashiinigmiing has a higher percentage of older and health-compromised residents who would be particularly at risk if COVID-19 were to enter the community. Following the existing protocol, Neyaashiinigmiing’s State of Emergency will be reassessed prior to July 31 and a determination made at that time whether the community can and should be safely reopened.

Under the extended State of Emergency, access to Neyaashiinigmiing will remain restricted to residents and registered members.

The Cape Croker Park will remain closed at this time to all campers, including seasonal renters. Seasonal renters of Cape Croker Park lots should contact Nathan Keeshig, Park Manager, with questions or concerns.

Non-members who are leasing or renting properties in Neyaashiinigmiing are asked to respect our closure, which is being mandated for the health and safety of residents. Non-members who are not normally resident in the community will not be admitted at this time. Questions regarding rented or leased properties may be directed to Larissa Johnston, Lands Manager.