Maskwacis First Nations declare state of emergency

Declaration helps access funds to respond to COVID-19 pandemic

The four First Nations of Maskwacis have declared a state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chiefs with Samson and Ermineskin Cree Nations, Louis Bull Tribe and Montana Band held a news conference Tuesday to explain why they took the steps they did and to encourage all to work together.

Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback said declaring a state of emergency makes it easier to access and allocate funds to respond to the pandemic.

The response from the four First Nations will be about “everyone doing their part,” said Saddleback.

“This is not a time to panic. This is not about panic,” he said.

The chiefs called an urgent meeting last weekend and decided to exercise their treaty right to health under the Medicine Chest clause in Treaty 6. The declaration activates the Famine and Pestilence Clause of the treaty.

“We call upon the federal government to honour the terms of the treaty and provide immediate funding, resources, tools and supplies necessary, based on expressed needs,” the chiefs said in a statement.

Montana First Nation proxy Chief Bradley Rabbit said on Tuesday, “we all know it’s a very, very challenging time in the community.”

Rabbit said First Nations communities are particularly vulnerable because of overcrowding. Some three-bedroom homes have 12 to 15 people living in them, he said.

“If one person in that home ended up getting sick, the entire home is quarantined.”

A $305-million Indigenous community support fund announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is welcomed, but there are questions about how the money will be doled out equitably to all First Nations communities, he said.

Alberta Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Marlene Poitras urged all community members to do their part to avoid contracting and passing on the virus.

“There are so many unknowns about this. Please protect yourselves, because if it hits our communities, I’m afraid of the devastation that could occur,” said Poitras.

“The leaders are doing everything in their power to deal with governments, to deal with whoever they need to deal with to ensure that protocols and systems are in place so that we can protect the communities.”



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Third Albertan dies, 46 cases in central zone

A third Albertan has died from COVID-19, province announced Sunday. Forty additional… Continue reading

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

Vaccine not expected until January 2021 for COVID-19, video posted on Alberta premier’s Facebook page shows

Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw discuss vaccines

Red Deer: Put a bear in your window so kids can count them

Red Deer woman wants kids to go on ‘bear hunt’

City of Red Deer asks residents to help protect the pipes

Products that can cause blockages include towel, diapers, food scraps and fat, oil and grease

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

‘Worse than any flu’: Canadians describe how it feels to have COVID-19

“I woke up with a little scratch in my throat and started trying to cough it up”

Feds rolling out help for charities hit hard by COVID-19 economic slowdown

OTTAWA — The federal government signalled Sunday it is shifting the focus… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

Thousands have already lost their jobs, while others like grocers look for ways to keep doors open

Athletes, musicians help raise 500,000 euros to fight virus

“It’s a very difficult situation, and for the league to be able to do something like this, it makes players, clubs and fans very proud”

Tokyo Olympics: Signs suggest summer dates for 2021 Olympics

Organizing committee suggested there would be no major change from 2020.

Most Read