Tansi! On Friday, Chief and Council enacted our new Nisichawayasi Emergency Measures Law, 2020 c. E-1 under our Othasowewin, 2017, c. O-1 and Aski-Pumenikiwin, 2017, c. A-1 to replace our very outdated 1992 bylaw under the Indian Act. Last Thursday we told you we would declare a State of Emergency to help us deal with the risks of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). We did that on Friday also.
State of Emergency
Our State of the Emergency is now in effect and further restrictions will come into effect tonight. The full text is available on our website at ncncree.com and on our Facebook page. Copies are being handed out at the checkstop.
Community on Lockdown
Basically, our community is facing what has been described as a “lockdown” or an order to “stay at home”. We encourage you to read the Order and ensure that you comply as we are acting on the best available health advice to protect our community and our citizens.
By doing so, we hope to avoid the worst of the situation that is unfolding in Italy, Spain, the United States and even in some Canadian provinces. All the experts say that basic steps like frequent handwashing, sanitizing our homes and offices, and social distancing (staying away from each other both in our own homes and outside our homes), and limiting travel can, and will make a difference. All of us just need to do our part and look out for each other. Our risk is still low but we want to keep it that way.
The Province of Manitoba also declared a State of Emergency on Friday. The number of cases in Manitoba is 19 as of yesterday. One person is now in hospital in Winnipeg with milder symptoms from the virus. All cases in Manitoba to date relate to travel. Our goals are to try to prevent this virus from entering our community and to prevent any of our Citizens or residents from ending up in the hospital.
Maintain Medical Care
The Chief Medical Officer has reminded Manitobans of the importance of contacting their health care provider for regular medical care. This includes making sure children are up-to-date on their routine childhood immunizations. This will reduce the risk of outbreaks of other communicable diseases during the pandemic.
Emergency Management Team
We are continuing to co-ordinate and collaborate with all parties through our Emergency Management Team while things continue to escalate in other parts of the world. There are millions of people around the world who are living under “lockdowns”. Some are almost total lock downs, some are more like ours and so far are partial lockdowns.
We know it is difficult for all of us and particularly for our Elders and our children. It is not consistent with our culture to isolate but now we have a collective responsibility to do this to protect each other. In other places, people are being arrested for refusing to comply. We hope that all of us will be responsible by taking steps to protect ourselves and each other.
The full text of our Order declaring the State of Emergency is as follows:
- Effective on March 20, 2020 at 6:00 pm a State of Emergency shall come into effect for all NCN Lands to minimize the risks related to the current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, which order includes the following:
- A ban on non-essential travel into and out of the community will go into effect at 8:00 pm on Sunday March 22, 2020 for all persons except those providing essential services in accordance with NCN’s Communicable Disease Emergency Plan, all medical personnel, utility providers, designated NCN advisors, members of Chief and Council, medical emergencies where the NCN Health Director or her designate determine the risk to the individual requires assistance at the Nursing Station and any other personnel designated in writing by Chief and Council as the need arises;
- All persons arriving at the roadside check-stop will be required to fill out a questionnaire (for tracking and monitoring visitors to the community) to ensure compliance with the non-essential travel ban;
- All NCN schools and non-essential services will be closed immediately;
- Today at 6:00 p.m. a ban on the transportation of alcohol onto NCN Lands will go into effect;
- Private and public gatherings of more than fifty are prohibited;
- All NCN Citizens and residents on NCN Lands are to remain in the community until Chief and Council or its designate indicates it is safe to resume normal activities but NCN Citizens and residents on NCN Lands will be permitted to access their traditional camps by snowmobile only unless health officials advise that such activities must cease to protect the health and safety of the community;
- All persons traveling to their camps by snowmobile must first report to a First Nation Safety Officer and indicate when they are leaving for and returning from camp, who they will be in contact with while at camp, agree in writing to limit their visitors at camp to less than 10 people, that there will be no delivery of any products to them at camp, including but not limited to alcohol or cannabis and that they will not use routes to their camp to then travel to urban areas such as Leaf Rapids or Thompson.
- This Order applies to all individuals and businesses on NCN Lands excluding the Mystery Lake Lands which are subject to separate requirements.
- Failure to comply with this order constitutes an offence and may result in evictions, banishments, fines, removal of benefits or other penalties.
- This Order will be reviewed at least weekly while it remains in effect and may be modified, revoked, or extended.
Chief Marcel Moody
COVID-19 related phone numbers are (204) 679-0179 and (204) 679-0279