Welcome to the155.ca Special Edition
With some emotions at an all time high, and some spirits at an all time low, it’s time to reflect, communicate, and cultivate a vision of unity. Our responsibility is to care for ourselves, but I need to find my place. I belong to a family that includes youth, elders and adults (women and men). In the family, we have an obligation to nurture and care for our children and elders. As I develop these family relationships and reach out to cousins; establish our own extended family…we develop a community. A community is united by a commitment to work together.
Our communities include all races: the red, the white, the black and the yellow. Our people include rather than exclude. These relationships between all races is confirmed by Treaty as we are all Treaty People. For example, the medicine chest shows the foresight of our leaders, because they knew that “pestilence and famine” would occur. The medicine chest was confirmed in Canada with public Medicare.
Our people are united in purpose of working together to nurture and care for others. In world Pandemic (the Spanish Flu of 1918) or crisis (World Wars 1 and 2) the traditional First Nations and Métis Elders took out their pipes or called their families together to prayed. Not just for their families and communities, but for all humanity. In 2020, during the Covid 19 Pandemic traditional Treaty Ten, Treaty Eight, Treaty Six and Métis Pipe Carriers again raised their pipes and families prayed. We learn from their example, that in a crisis the first thing is prayer as it recognizes the importance of spiritual guidance. It does not matter how you pray, just pray.
When the 2020 Covid 19 announcement was made Northwest families convened Family Councils to decide how the basic needs of the family would be met. They were concerned about the physical needs, the emotional needs because fear is usually the first response of a crisis.
Family leadership knew “…if you are prepared you shall not fear so they organized their resources.” A quick review identified what was required to protect family members required so they implored Emergency Community Councils to act. As the community councils met with (Band Councils, Municipal Councils, Metis Councils (locals), they also identified technical help required.
The leadership created the NWCICC with Rick Laliberte acting as Captain and Napoleon Gardiner providing admin support. Together they identified the strategy and infrastructure required:
• Each Community was coached in establishing their own Emergency Operations Centres
• Communications (web site, daily phone calls, emails, texts, etc.) were put into place,
• Community Check points and Perimeter Controls
• Food Security and distribution
• Inter-agency networks and Inter-jurisdictional supports
• Personal Protective Equipment to protect front line workers
• Isolations facilities were established.
External Agencies were engaged to support and align with the Community Council Strategy. The incident Command Centre coordinated communications with the different jurisdictions.
• Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Cree and Dene Bands, Metis Nation Regions, Locals, Municipalities, MHO, NITHA, SHA, RCMP, ISC, Provincial and Federal Government, Northern Lights School Board.
The list does not include everyone and for that we apologize, but this special page is to honour the combined effort and sacrifice of our people…for without this work, the virus would have spread uncontrolled. Each person did their part and on behalf of all the residents and our families we express their gratitude for those that served. We know it is not over, but we feel more prepared for the second wave.
These pictures are shared so you can put your faces to the names. Thank you, and our deepest condolences for the loved one’s we lost to covid-19, and also along our journey when we could not grieve.
Prayers and Blessings to all our Relations.
A warm thank you from Ernestine
Indigenous Service Canada
More photos to come...
As President of Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, I take this opportunity to recognize everyone involved in the efforts in the North West during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have borne witness to Métis citizens who have risen to the occasion and gone above and beyond helping their neighbours. Our MN–S Minister of Health Marg Friesen has been working hard for our citizens in Saskatchewan. To MN-S Ministers and Regional Directors, Mervin ‘Tex’ Bouvier of Northern Region 3 and Leonard Montgrand of Northern Region 2, recognition for taking the lead and getting done what could have been seen as the impossible.
The partnerships that have emerged between MN-S, northern community leaders, First Nations and federal officials are second-to-none and mark just the beginning of what we can accomplish together. Collaborative efforts have been integral to the success of the Incident Command Centre’s (ICC) ability to restrict travel in and out of the North West, work the distribution logistics of getting supplies to the region promptly and provide food security for all citizens. Never ones to back away from adversity, we are all stronger together.
Please check other Testimonies & Stories with Candice Paul, Katrina Maurice & Gerald Roy and add your own...!