(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomes today’s announcement by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller to invest in Indigenous communities to better respond to COVID-19. The investment comes after a January 7 letter from National Chief Bellegarde to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging the government to take action to address the growing rate of COVID-19 infections among First Nation people across the country.
“Keeping our people and nations safe remains top priority, particularly at a time when infection rates are rising and risk getting completely out of control,” said National Chief Bellegarde, adding that First Nations are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and require resources to meet needs exacerbated by remoteness, crowded homes and lack of clean water. “I lift up First Nations leadership across the country for speaking up. Our voices have been heard. We will save lives.”
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller today announced $1.2 Billion, which includes support for public health, further investments in the Indigenous Community Support Fund and Supportive Care for long-term care and Elder care facilities.
“It’s essential we work together and that the approach is coordinated, with First Nations taking the lead,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “I am encouraged by Minister Miller’s commitment to First Nations having flexibility to respond to needs and will continue to press provincial and territorial governments to support and work together with First Nations as we respond to this crisis. This includes access to mental health supports for our front-line workers and community members.”
National Chief Bellegarde made it clear this week he will be getting his COVID-19 vaccine when his turn comes.
“Just like wearing a mask, getting the vaccine is about keeping you and those around you safe,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “If you don’t plan to do it for yourself, please consider doing it for your family, friends and community. Together we’ll conquer COVID-19.”
For more details on today’s funding announcement, read this press release from the Indigenous Services Canada website.