(August 2020) – “The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. We must continue to listen, learn, be cautious and take care of one another,” – a message from the Assembly of First Nations Knowledge Keepers Council
We would like to give thanks to the Creator for keeping our families, communities, and leaders safe during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, Creator, for walking with our families who have lost loved ones during this time and keep them safe. Creator, please keep our young people safe.
The past few months have brought new challenges to our communities and Nations. Members of our families and communities have left this world early due to complications from COVID-19. We honour their memories and acknowledge the grief that many of you feel. We recognize that it has been difficult to be separated from friends and families and to not be able to participate in all the activities and ceremonies that support our wellbeing. We thank all the nurses and frontline workers who are taking care of our people.
To our younger generation: please know you are in our prayers and that you can reach out for support anytime. With technology today, we are available to provide support, or we can find the support you need.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Canada, First Nations have worked relentlessly to protect people and families in their communities. We have case numbers at a manageable level with a majority of cases resolved in community. Through adapting and working together, we have once again shown that we continue to be resilient. Some communities have had no cases so far, but that does not mean we can be complacent. The pandemic is not yet over. The risk of a second wave exists, and we must all continue to be cautious and continue to listen to our Elders, leadership, and health leaders.
With the change of seasons, many of us are going out onto the land to participate in ceremony, harvest fish and berries, and to hunt. We must continue to gain strength from these practices and honour our traditional beliefs while acknowledging the role of western medicine in keeping us safe from sickness. With the coming of fall, the influenza vaccine (flu shot) will become available, and this year, more so than ever, it is important that we get vaccinated and encourage our friends and family members to get vaccinated as well.
With the gradual re-opening of communities, businesses, and schools, our social circles will become larger and we will interact with more people from within and outside of our communities. Please apply the direction of our leaders and practice physical distancing, practice good hand hygiene, limit large gatherings, and wear a mask inside public spaces. You may not feel sick, but you may be a carrier. Be reminded that there is strength in the practice of self-isolating, seeking medical attention, and getting tested for COVID-19 if you do feel sick or are in contact with a confirmed case.
By taking these precautions, you are taking care of yourself, and, importantly, taking care of those around you who may be more vulnerable to the disease, especially our Elders. Continue to listen and learn about what is known about COVID-19, how it is spread, and what is effective in reducing the spread as information is constantly evolving. We have always taken care of each other, we will continue to do so now, especially in this period of uncertainty, to protect our people, our communities, and our Nations.