Jukasa News Update – Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council announced it was moving into Red Alert status, down from Black Alert, where the community has sat since the new year.
“This decision was made by taking many factors into consideration to measure the level of risk in the community,” says a statement from SNGREC.
Six Nations had a significant spike in COVID infections in a deadly second wave that saw infection rates well above those in some of the hardest hit locations in Ontario and saw the COVID death count for Six Nations suddenly rise to 11.
Currently, Six Nations has zero active COVID cases — the first time since December 2020. There are 25 people in self-isolation.
Currently there is a low risk threshold for the community, which according to local statistics from SNGR, means the virus is currently well-contained on the territory.
Under Red Alert level status some businesses that have been closed since December will be allowed to reopen and some community services may resume.
While residents still must not gather with members outside of their immediate household — monitored gatherings are permitted but limited to 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors.
Community members are being asked not to travel outside of the local area, and only for essential purposes such as grocery shopping, for medical appointments or other essential services.
Restaurants must remain closed for indoor dining but outdoor dining can resume and curbside pickup may continue.
Gyms may resume personal training sessions and people can attend gym facilities to workout with adequate physical distancing and mask wearing protocols in place.
SNGREC says the Red Alert status will be reevaluated on June 8.
The first set of vaccines for youth aged 12-17 on Six Nations will launch this coming weekend. Ohsweken Public Health says the clinic for first doses will be held on Saturday, June 5 at the Gaylord Powless Arena starting at 9:30 a.m.
“It is encouraged to book quickly as the COVID-19 vaccine doses will be administered on a first come first served bases and must be booked by either a parent/guardian or the youth themselves,” said a statement.
Second doses of the vaccine will be administered on June 26.
All youth in Canada aged 12-17 will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as it is currently the only vaccine approved for that age group.
The vaccines can be booked by calling the Vaccine Call Centre at 226-227-9288 Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m..
Six Nations youth are also eligible to receive the vaccine in Brantford through the Brant County Health Unit. Those doses will begin on June 8 with the second doses administered on June 29. To book a vaccine for a youth 12-17 in Brantford visit http://www.bchu.org/covid19bookindigenous
The recent discovery of skeletal remains of more than 215 former students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School has caused a stir across Canada, but more specifically in Brantford where the first residential school in Canada opened in 1832.
The discovery was announced on Thursday by the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation, who had investigated the grounds of the old school themselves.
Now, Six Nations is renewing a call for examination of the ground of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford.
It has been rumoured for generations that similar undocumented burials may have taken place at the Mohawk Institute.
Now, Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill is calling on the federal government to deliver capacity for Six Nations to search the grounds.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Hill writes, “Six Nations of the Grand River is the largest First Nation in Canada and we are calling on you, Prime Minister, to take action in equipping Six Nations to immediately conduct a comprehensive search for missing children on and around the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute. I am available to speak with you directly to discuss how we can expedite the search using the latest ground penetrating radar technology. We must find all of our missing children.”
Hill called on the Prime Minister to take action on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action numbers 71-76 on Missing Children and Burial Information.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission focused on those losses in the “Missing Children and Unmarked Burials Project with shocking discoveries.
Of the 3200 deaths the TRC discovered; 32% of those deaths were not recorded and 49% did not have the cause of death recorded. Even more distressing — though Indian families were, by law, ordered to send their children to residential school by age 7 — there were zero protocols in place to send children home upon their death and no basic health and safety standards in place to ensure their wellbeing. In fact, most children who died at residential school were buried at the school and all too often those cemeteries are now abandoned and unmarked.
The bodies of 215 children were found via ground penetrating radar in a large unmarked gravesite at Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia last week, a horrifying revelation that has sent shockwaves across the country and around the world.
Here at home, Six Nations is in mourning, with numerous memorials and vigils held over the past few days to honour the children, their families and all residential school survivors.
Over 500 people turned out for an afternoon vigil and moment of silence on Sunday at Woodland Cultural Centre, formerly the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The event was organized by Haudenosaunee Grassroots Mamas while on Monday, the Six Nations Veterans Association lowered the flags to half mast at Veterans Park in Ohsweken.
Sunday’s vigil saw hundreds of people from Six Nations, Brantford, Hamilton, and beyond fill the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, also known as The Mush Hole, where many Six Nations children were forced to attend until it closed down in 1970.
Many of the children who attended the Mohawk Institute are alive today.
Sherlene Bomberry, 65, tearfully told the gathering of her experiences at the Mush Hole, saying the recent discovery opened wounds from her time at the Mohawk Institute.
“I heard those little girls crying up there,” she told the crowd, the big, red brick building that housed her childhood memories behind her.
All these years, she said, she spoke of her time at the residential school but she was emotionally numb to the memories. News of the children’s graves triggered her in a way she never felt before.
“I’ve talked about this before but I never had emotions about it. I was emotionally numb. But with this now, I felt it.”
Char Hemlock, spokesperson for the Haudenosaunee Grassroots Mamas, said, “What happened out west called to every mother and grandmother to come today to offer respects and demand justice. We need change now if we are ever to move forward with respectful