Tansi. Merry Christmas!

At this time of year we often reflect on the past and look forward to the coming New Year. It is typically a season for joy and time with family, but we are well aware this past year has been full of change and has been hard on everyone. Our gatherings with family and friends will not happen as usual, but we will sacrifice now so that we will still have those we love beside us for years to come. Some holiday traditions will be put on hold but we encourage new traditions and for all of us to focus on the reasons we need to keep everyone safe.

In the past nine months, we have continuously and tirelessly been dealing with the struggles of the Covid-19 pandemic and coping with constantly changing information or situations on a daily basis. The crisis makes us all very frustrated and sometimes angry. We are concerned for the safety of our families, friends and neighbours.

It is sometimes easy to focus on all of the bad things in our lives, but I am proud of our Nehetho people. It has been extremely rewarding to see our community come together and support one another. Our Citizens have found innovative ways to make the best of each situation with compassion, and caring spirits driving their actions. We have seen great support for our Elders and those in need. Many people are selflessly helping each other pull through this world pandemic. Our front line and essential workers have put themselves in threatening situations facing an invisible deadly virus. We all must be just as caring and selfless, especially now.

Our community is fortunate to have the nursing station, the Wellness Centre and a wealth of other services that many other communities do not. For those individuals and workers that are essential and continue to work through the holidays, THANK YOU! Our nurses and health providers risk their lives each day, our essential workers (I remind you are human too), are doing their very best to assist us all. We also applaud the entire NCN staff and management for adjusting to these uncertain times.

We especially appreciate our Citizens. We all have made huge adjustments to our daily lives. And for those that have diligently followed the orders in council and safety measure, we salute you all. That said, we remind you: those efforts are meaningless, unless we see this battle through to its end. We ask everyone to keep it up! We had endured so much over nine months of being Covid free, and together we can, and we will clear it from our Nation once again.

Although this is usually a time to relax and take moments to comfort and enjoy ourselves, we will continue to be proactive. We will make every effort to keep our community members aware of the ever-changing information. We’ll adapt and strive to make everyone’s safety our top priority.

In the coming days we will be working to update everyone on the results from the reported 21 NCN Citizens; that unfortunately may have been in contact with the virus. We are prepared, no matter the results and will work to act quickly.

You are all reminded that, we are all frustrated too. We have all been restricted and have lost certain freedoms that we had the luxury of being blessed with before the pandemic.
Plans are in place to be able to react quickly, whether it is isolating those with the spread, contact tracing, continued sanitizing, informing essential workers or ensuring every safety measure can be taken – we will all do our equal part.

It pains our leadership to have to put these strict measures in place and these decisions are never taken lightly. We try to ensure everyone is able to live without burden or stress and that each of us has the best opportunities available given any circumstance. Ultimately we cannot jeopardize the safety of even one of our Citizens, if it can be prevented.
We are also here to listen and to talk. We have a Covid-19 control centre phone line to answer all of your questions. We are ensuring Citizens cupboards and our stores are stocked with groceries and essential items. We have deliveries prepared for emergencies.

Despite the current state of the world, my Council and I want to wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season and to remind everyone to especially cherish those we have close to us. Be thankful for the many gifts that we have in front of us and be mindful and understanding of some of the imperfections or obstacles that may be in our path. Know that although we cannot all be together – our thoughts and wishes extend to everyone. May the love of the season be shared even though we can not be together in person.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year.

From all of our families to yours,
– Chief Marcel Moody and Council.