Jukasa News Update – Monday, March 9, 2020
If the novel coronavirus spreads to the North, Inuit communities in Canada and elsewhere in the Arctic are at a much higher risk of exposure because of a chronic lack of basic infrastructure and resources.
This from the Inuit Circumpolar Council.
which represents about 180,000 Inuit living in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia. The council said they must be considered in government responses to the coronavirus because of the potential compounding threat to basic health and well-being in those communities.
Many communities lack sewers and running water, putting people at greater risk of getting sick from COVID-19, the respiratory disease linked to the virus, the council said this week, noting there is already a high prevalence of tuberculosis and other respiratory infections in those communities.
The council has also called on governments to close infrastructure gaps to protect against future health threats.
British Columbia will work with First Nations to restore legal practices and structures and increase the number of people working within the justice system under an agreement signed Friday that aims to reduce the number of Indigenous people sent to jail.
Attorney General David Eby said the agreement with the First Nations Justice Council is historic and will bring forward changes that will benefit Indigenous people.
About 30 per cent of inmates in B.C.’s jails and prisons are from First Nations, but they comprise less than four per cent of the province’s total population. The B.C. numbers are almost similar across Canada.
Eby said his ministry and the council will work together to implement the strategy, which includes establishing a network of Indigenous justice centres and increasing justice programs in First Nations communities.
The federal cabinet has approved an agreement that will see Canada pay nearly $240 million in compensation to the Mohawks of Akwesasne to settle a land claim.
The agreement is the result of decades of negotiations between the Mohawks of Akwesasne and the federal government over an 8,000-hectare parcel of land known as Dundee.
In 2015, the federal government offered a settlement. In 2018 a community referendum showed 80% of band members agreed to accept that deal.
Through the settlement agreement with Ottawa, once they receive the money, the Mohawks of Akwesasne effectively renounce their claim to disputed land and confirm that the 1888 surrender was valid.
The federal cabinet minister for diversity, inclusion and youth says racism targeted at Indigenous people in the wake of national anti-pipeline protests is “horrible.”
Bardish Chagger says people advocating for violence against First Nations people as a response to recent blockades are coming at the issue from a place of ignorance.
She says too many Canadians have not been taught enough about Indigenous history and rights.
Chagger made the comments at an announcement promoting a government fund supporting LGBTQ community groups.
Jade Byard Peek, director of advocacy for the Ottawa group hosting today’s announcement, says anti-Indigenous sentiment is spreading.
She says it’s not just up to the government to address it, and all Canadians must speak up in support of Indigenous rights.