Playgrounds have been closed across Canada due to the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19). (MIKE YOUDS/ Special to AV News)

COVID 19: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, other First Nations mobilize resources

Some Indigenous communities are enacting emergency measures to cope during pandemic

BY MIKE YOUDS

Special to the News

Coastal First Nations have restricted visitors to protect communities from the spread of COVID-19 as they work with Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council to meet local needs, says NTC president Judith Sayers.

“Some of the communities are blocking anyone from going in, which is good news,” Sayers said. “Most have shut down everything except essential services.”

On Thursday, March 26, Parks Canada joined local Indigenous communities, as well as Ucluelet, Tofino, Bamfield and Port Renfrew, urging people not to travel. Pacific Rim National Park was closed to vehicle access Wednesday.

First Nations Health Authority and Emergency Management B.C. are working together with local governments through the pandemic to alleviate hardships that may arise, she said. Information on physical distancing has been widely circulated through community bulletins on social media. Community food distribution continues with careful provision to avoid direct personal contact.

“Many of our First Nations are bringing care packages to elders,” Sayers said. “A lot of nations are trying to do bulk buying. They don’t want people coming and going to grocery stores.”

Ordinarily, the NTC employees about 200 people who work at six different locations. All administrative offices were shut down a week ago while essential services have been maintained. The NTC’s executive and human resource committee are monitoring the situation daily. Minimal staffing continues in certain departments, such as community nursing and child and family services. FNHA is in touch with individual First Nations to assess local need for items such as masks and respirators.

The NTC has received requests from various communities about their needs.

“Everyone is responding differently,” she said. “We’re mobilizing anybody and everybody who is of help.”

Sayers has discussed the pandemic and its impact in phone conversations with MLA and Minister of Indigenous Relations Scott Fraser, MP Gord Johns and Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan. Some communities want to know if fishing restrictions can be eased to provide a supplementary source of food.

Tseshaht First Nation declared a state of emergency on Thursday and Toquaht First Nation will invoke its emergency act on the weekend.

“We’re lucky here so far here,” said Hugh Braker, wearing gloves while providing an update via Facebook from the Tseshaht emergency operations centre. “Tseshaht, as far as I know, does not have any infections locally. “We know that other Nuu-chah-nulth nations are not as lucky.”

Meanwhile, the five Maa-nulth Treaty nations will see their treaty in action since it enables them to adopt emergency measures without a band council resolution requiring a leadership vote, Sayers noted.

FNHA offers a comprehensive information page at https://www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/communicable-disease-control/coronavirus.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictCoronavirusFirst NationsHealthcare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet releases COVID-19 Recovery Plan

Part of the recovery plan involves deploying three district staff as COVID-19 Community Monitors

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

“Health and safety matters to everyone.”

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read