Second Edition of COVID-19 Bulletin for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples

First Nations and Indigenous Communities

 From:                  Isadore Day, CEO – Bimaadzwin Inc

 Date:                    Thursday, April 2, 2020

 Re:                         COVID19 Weekly Publication – Issue #002

 

Welcome to the second edition of our weekly COVID-19 Bulletin for First Nations and Indigenous peoples.  Every week, Bimaadzwin will post information that contains basic information, the latest news, and what governments are doing to address the current pandemic. We believe any information is critical and needed.

We want to point out that Indigenous peoples have only been allocated $305 million by the federal government in order to address this pandemic. First Nations will only receive $215 million which is a small fraction of what is being allocated for mainstream Canadians. This amounts to less than one per cent of the $82 billion that has been allocated for mainstream Canadians. Again, this is the reason why we want to get this information into our communities on a weekly basis.

The simplest message is: “Stay at home.” We are all in this together. Everyone must stay informed in order stay safe. That is our central goal and commitment for this publication. Please click on the link below for this week’s presentation:

https://issuu.com/bimaadzwin/docs/final_issue_2_covid-fn_04.02_.pptx

We look forward to your feedback, ideas, and shared information that we can help send across to First Nations across Turtle Island. We are working with various partners to ensure that the information that is being conveyed is support of First Nations as they activate Pandemic Plans and work toward reconstituting First Nation communities once the transmission of COVID19 is no longer a threat to human health.

Implementing strategies, business continuity, and re-focusing efforts to meet the needs of our local First Nation communities is the focus of our efforts. We look forward to this publication evolving based on what you want to hear each week.

Please contact us at hpelky@bimaadzwin.ca / 1-705-987-2505. Working together, we can, and will make it through this and be stronger as Indigenous People, families, communities, and nations.

In Health, Healing and Nationhood,

Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini

CEO Bimaadzwin Inc

 

COVID-19 Information for First Nations — First Issue March 27, 2020

In these unprecedented and uncertain times, First Nations, and all Indigenous peoples, need accurate information on COVID-19. Every week, Bimaadzwin will post information that contains basic information, the latest news, and what governments are doing to address the current pandemic.

The simplest message is: “Stay at home.” We are all in this together. Everyone must stay informed in order stay safe. That is our central goal and commitment as we expedite this publication. Please click on the link below for this week’s presentation:

We look forward to your feedback, ideas, and shared information that we can help send across to First Nations across Turtle Island.

We are working with various partners to ensure that the information that is being conveyed is support of First Nations as they activate Pandemic Plans and work toward reconstituting First Nation communities once the transmission of COVID19 is no longer a threat to human health.

Implementing strategies, business continuity, and re-focusing efforts to meet the needs of our local First Nation communities is the focus of our efforts. We look forward to this publication evolving based on your specific approaches and will open up dialogue in next week’s issue.

Please contact us at hpelky@bimaadzwin.ca / 1-705-987-2505. Working together, we can, and will make it through this and be stronger as Indigenous People, families, communities, and nations.

In Health, Healing and Nationhood,

Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini CEO Bimaadzwin Inc

International Women’s Day 2020: Indigenous Women Will Revitalize and Rebuild Our Nations

By Isadore Day, CEO Bimaadzwin

(March 7, 2020) On Thursday in Kahnawake, warrior women stood by a pink Mohawk flag to announce that the railroad blockade was being dismantled. This was a powerful image that reinforces the increasing leadership role that Indigenous women are asserting in this country. Indigenous women are not only water protectors and land defenders, they are leaders for revitalizing our Nations.

This Sunday is International Women’s Day, the one day per year set aside to celebrate the accomplishments of women. More specifically, the day marks efforts at ending discrimination against women and highlights the need for full participation as equals to men.  At Bimaadzwin, we believe that women have — and will — become the driving force to rebuilding our Nations.

Before contact with European settlers, our Peoples respected and heeded the counsel and guidance of matriarchal leaders. The Indian Act ushered in male-dominated colonial band systems, which not only undermined the traditional authority of women, but created a dysfunctional societal relationship which has led to discrimination, domestic violence, and Missing and Murdered Women and Girls.

It will take at least another generation before all our Peoples, and our Nations, will be equal in sovereign and economic power with colonial governments and settler society. In the meantime, we must continue to encourage Indigenous women – and girls – to reclaim their rightful place as true leaders. We need warrior women to lead the way to full sovereignty for our Peoples.

Below are quotes from our Bimaadzwin female staff:

“This year, more than ever, we’ve seen Indigenous Women in the frontlines protecting, protesting and standing up for Indigenous Rights across what we call Turtle Island (AKA North America). The women and our young women are standing up to protect our lands, water, nations, languages, our governing structures and inherent rights for future generations and for the faces unborn.  Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, for the most part, are matrilineal and matriarchal societies and have always had a voice in our traditional longhouses.  It is our women through their clans who govern the actions of the Land Defenders in terms of internal and external affairs. It has always been this way.

Still, for the first time in a very long-time indigenous people including indigenous urban communities, band councils, local traditional police enforcements, and longhouse people, united as one voice to support our brothers and sisters the  Wet’suwetén peoples who faced an unlawful  invasion into their territory.

“I am proud of our Kanien’keha:ka Nation women and men who acted as one to this infringement of our inherent land rights, and our rights to a good quality of life.  This was a true demonstration of #eachforequal.  A practice used from time and memorial in indigenous democratic confederacies—that’s what I call decolonized action for all.  We are not war like peoples we are righteous, peaceful, true democratic peoples in which women play an equal and very important role in our governance structures.   The Land Defenders demonstrated equality and justice for all very clearly over the past month. I am proud of our Hereditary Chiefs and Clan Mothers, who play an equal role in our governing structures, they have protected and served our peoples well—Peace, power and righteousness, through equality!”

–Allison Deer

“Today on International Women’s Day we celebrate women everywhere. As mothers, we have the great honour and obligation to help our daughters to become the best that they can be and to do the best that they can to use their strength as women, to contribute strength back into our Indigenous communities and our respective Nations. A very strong message coming from so many of our women knowledge keepers and matriarchs, is to always lift our daughters up, helping them to reach their goals and to celebrate with them. Our nations become stronger when we lift them up; their voice is our voice, their strength makes the world a better place.”

–Angela Day

“Women’s equality in our economy and parity in government all over the world will send a strong message that our women are moving forward to make a difference for our children today, tomorrow and the future.  Our society needs to be more supportive and champion our women.   Let’s take care of Mother Earth and be one voice in making a difference.”

–Heather Pelky

“As a non-Indigenous woman living on the land that is now called Canada, I like to uphold ‘IWD’ more as an Indigenous Women’s Day. As I watch the Indigenous women from coast to coast to coast assert their inherent rights, I am struck by how much they do to protect what is good for the climate, the land, the water, the community, the traditions, the languages and, most of all, the families. They are often the ones in the frontlines shouldering struggles on behalf of all of us. On this day, let us commit to support them and their work EVERY day.”

–Charu Murti

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Power Point: First Nation Federal Cannabis Framework Update at CANDO Conference

(October 30, Gatineau, QC) Isadore Day presented an update at the 26th Annual CANDO Conference on the progress being made in regard to the First Nation Federal Cannabis Framework.  There were over 300 Indigenous Economic Development Officers in attendance at the Lac Leamy Hilton.

“Right now, 80 per cent of cannabis purchased by Canadians is from the black market. Mainstream cannabis producers and dispensaries are losing money,” said Day. “The challenge that First Nations face is to legally fill that gap. We must be able to cultivate, process, and retail cannabis that is entirely legal and legitimate in the eyes of the federal and provincial governments.”

The full power point presentation is posted below:

FINAL 19-10-30 CANDO Cannabis Panel

 

Growth and Prosperity Fall-Winter 2019/2020 Launched

Isadore Day on 10-17: One Year After Legalization First Nations are Still Trying to Figure out the Pros and Cons of Health, Safety and Economic Benefits of Cannabis     

(Serpent River, October 17, 2019) Today, October 17th, 2019 marks the one-year anniversary of the legalization of cannabis in Canada. This is an appropriate day to launch the third edition of Growth and Prosperity: Indigenous Hemp and Cannabis Magazine. The feature story is on the work being done with the federal government to include First Nations in the mainstream cannabis industry from seed to sale.

What we have learned so far is Indigenous Peoples were not included by the federal government– and were not adequately informed — about the pros and cons of this new industry. What we have learned so far is that the federal government is now willing to work with our Peoples on all fronts – from health and safety education and supports to ensuring inclusion in the mainstream industry though a harmonized framework approach.

One year after legalization, at least 80 per cent of the cannabis consumed in Canada is from the black market. There is still much misinformation about cannabis as a disruptive gateway drug to serious addiction. There is misinformation that a First Nation community that gets involved in growing or selling cannabis will be a target for organized crime and will endanger the lives of their children.

The reality is that alcohol and tobacco have proven to be far more dangerous when overconsumed. Organized crime is far more involved in the illicit alcohol and tobacco trade in our communities.  The answer to this cannabis misinformation is education.

Our leadership, and our citizens, must take the time to consider whether First Nation participation in the cannabis industry is something that they want to pursue as a means of long-term economic opportunity. At the same time, those communities with high rates of drug and alcohol abuse may want to examine medicinal cannabis as a safer means of recovery from addiction.

I am inspired by Dr. Shelley Turner’s medical clinic – Ekosi Health. “Ekosi” is Cree word that means “this is good, this is the way forward.” She has become an expert on the many benefits of medicinal cannabis. Her practice focuses on education, data, and science – knowledge and safe access to cannabis.

What we do know about cannabis is that it’s a natural plant that as been consumed for thousands of years. It’s only been within the past several decades that science has separated different strains that have different effects upon the human body. Cannabis with THC is a mind-altering substance. Cannabis with CBD is the medicinal, healing, and calming substance.

The simple plan for those communities who want to explore both the economic and well-being potential of cannabis is to first concentrate on medicinal cannabis. For example, Seven Leaf in Akwesasne, is a Health Canada licenced producer of medicinal cannabis. They now employ over 50 local Mohawk residents.

Not only is Seven Leaf contributing to the economic well-being of those 50 families, they are producing a safe product that has the power to heal. If your grandmother is in severe pain with arthritis, or if your dog has anxiety when there’s a thunderstorm, why not use medicinal cannabis?

Cannabis has the power to heal our Peoples and it has the power to create wealth for our Peoples.

Ekosi: This is good, this is the way forward.

Growth & Prosperity Issue3 Fall-Winter 2019-20

Advancing Indigenous Nationhood Includes Control of Data and Technology

Alfred Loon, Leah Ballantyne, Montreal MP Marc Miller, who is the Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Crown Relations, Allison Deer, and Bryan Hendry, attended the Indigenous Technology Summit last week in Montreal.

First Nations and Indigenous peoples must take control of technology and data in order to advance their Nationhood, culture, and economic independence.  This is one of the key themes of the Indigenous Technology Summit in Montreal hosted last week by the Mohwak Council of Kahnawake and Forrest Green.

Major sponsors and participants at the Summit included Indigenous Services Canada, Microsoft, Blakcberry, Mustihuhw Information Solutions, Okanagan Indian Band, Osyoos Indian Band, and the Atlantic Policy Congress. Bimaadzwin team members Allison Deer and Bryan Hendry attended along with about 70 delegates. Organizing Chairs were Grand Chief Joseph Tokwiro Norton and Murray Rowe Jr.

The goal of the summit was to gather input from First Nations and Indigenous peoples towards creating a high-tech association to promote developers, entrepreneurs and solutions.  The federal government is committed to assisting and providing IT education, job creation, capacity development, and generating own-source revenue in communities.

For example, Mustimuhw Information Solutions, owned by the Cowichan Tribes in BC, works with over 270 First Nations across the country.  Mustimuhw works with First Nation Health Centers and Child and Family Service Agencies who need to control their in information management systems. By having ownership, access, and control of personal health information, First Nations are able to provide better and safer services to their communities, children and clients.

For more information about the Summit, visit www.indigenousdata.ca For more information about the IT services available in Kahnawake, visit http://www.mohawkinternettechnologies.com/datacentre.htm
 

 

Participation in Mainstream Industry Purpose of Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering on May 25

 

(Serpent River First Nation — May 23, 2019) The third Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering will be held this Saturday in Wahnipatae First Nation. The first two gatherings were held in Alderville and Pikwakanagan First Nations. All three communities currently have cannabis dispensaries that combined generate millions of dollars annually in revenue, as well as millions of dollars in income for community members.

“First Nations in Ontario, and across the country, are declaring their interests and rights to participate in this industry,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin, and co-ordinator of the gatherings. “This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a foothold in a multi-billion-dollar market that will never disappear, that will continue to grow.”

 

“Let’s not forget that when the prohibition on alcohol was lifted in the 1930s, First Nations were not allowed to leave their reserves. Even up to the 1960s, First Nations were not allowed to purchase alcohol at Ontario run liquor stores. Today, the prohibition on cannabis is over, and our Peoples are ready grow and sell this natural green commodity to mainstream Canadians.

 

“For those First Nation retailers who are currently operating, there are a number of urgent priorities. They want to be seen as legitimate businesses in the eyes of the community and leadership,” said Day. “This means they are eager to operate under community cannabis laws. They also want to safely operate under Health Canada regulations and provincial laws.”

 

A good example of the impact the cannabis industry has had in one geographical area over the past year is at Pikwakanagan First Nation on Golden Lake. The seven dispensaries that have formed the Pikwakanagan Cannabis Business Association currently employ about 100 people, who earn an estimated $2.8 million income annually. This number continues to grow. Some employees are seniors who work part-time to supplement their pensions. Indigenous cannabis business leaders are also stressing their commitment to train, hire and help advance the socio-economic interests of people who would previously be seen as unemployable.

 

“Pikwakanagan is about a 90-minute drive from the City of Ottawa. Since the three provincially regulated cannabis dispensaries opened in Ottawa on April 1st, cannabis sales actually increased in Pikwakanagan,” said Day. “In fact, business has also increased for the local gas stations, restaurants, and businesses both on and off-reserve in the Golden Lake area. As long as consumers recognize that they are able to purchase quality cannabis, they will make the trip from the Ottawa—Gatineau area.

 

“In the meantime, there are a number of First Nation communities in Ontario who are currently drafting cannabis by-laws. In the years to come, these communities will be involved in producing, processing and selling. They will also establish a network that has the potential to become a significant economic generator for generations to come.

 

“At the end of the day, every single Indigenous individual or community who wants to either invest, or become directly involved in the cannabis industry, has the potential to grow and prosper for many years to come,” concluded Day. “That economic potential must also be respected, accepted, even celebrated by mainstream governments who realize that our Peoples have every right to grow their economies, locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.”

For information on the Anishinabek Cannabis Gathering, visit   https://bimaadzwin.ca/anishinabek-cannabis-gathering/

Bimaadzwin Reaction to Provincial Budget 2019: Ontario and First Nations agree that Federal Transfer Payments are key to creating wealth and the conditions to be open for business

(Serpent River First Nation, April 11, 2019) “Today’s provincial budget – the first by the Doug Ford Conservative government – makes a point that the current system of federal transfers is ‘broken and not working.’ As a former First Nation leader, I sympathize with Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s concerns. Nationally, First Nations are promised billions of dollars annually in programs and services, but it never seems to reach the communities.”

To quote today’s budget: ‘It is critical that the federal government treat Ontario’s businesses, individuals, and families fairly and support them through adequate transfer agreements, not more red tape and administrative burdens.’

“For First Nations in Ontario – and across Canada – this sounds very familiar – ‘red tape and administrative burdens’.  Just like the provinces and territories, First Nations need to break free of red tape and bureaucracy in Ottawa,” said Day. “At the same time, First Nations should no longer have to sit and wait for federal and provincial budgets to treat our peoples like line items in a budget.

“Just like the Province of Ontario, First Nations need to assert our jurisdictions through long term reliable, sustainable federal fiscal transfers that will go directly to our own authorities, regions, and communities. For example, the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority will receive $4.7 billion in direct federal transfer payments over the next decade, with the Province of BC adding $84 million.  This is First Nation health care delivered by First Nations.

“In 2017, the federal government announced that Indigenous Services Canada will download its funding and services, which includes health, to First Nation authorities and communities, within five years,” noted Day. “We now have a little over 3 years at the least to build capacity in our regions and communities in order to prepare to take control of our own services for our own peoples. This is how we will assert Nationhood.

“In closing, I am disappointed there was no mention of First Nations in today’s budget speech, other than the search for “willing Indigenous partners” to help develop the Ring of Fire minerals in the Far North. I predict that Ontario will have to search long and hard before our Peoples are ready to be open for resource development business. Our priority will always remain protecting the lands and waters for our children — and for all peoples across the country, and around the world.”

Bimaadzwin Federal Budget Reaction: Nationhood Needs to be Addressed in order to build First Nation Economies and Happy, Healthy Communities

(North Caribou Lake First Nation, March 20, 2019) “The highlight of yesterday’s federal budget is that it will be easier for millennials to buy new homes. However, far too many of the First Nation generation who grew up under the two-decade 2 per cent funding cap will continue to suffer in third world housing conditions,” said Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, CEO of Bimaadzwin. “If the federal government were truly serious about reconciliation, the focus on funding should have been on nation building, housing, and economic development. An extra $4.4 billion over four years on program spending, which includes $100 million for economic development, is not much of an investment.

“First of all, I want to commend the federal government for its continued commitment to eliminate Boil Water Advisories (BWAs) within the next two years. But clean drinking water is just one determinant of health. Like all Canadians take for granted, First Nations need clean drinking water flowing out of taps in homes that are safe to live in,” said Day. “As it stands in 2019, just as it did in 1999, First Nation housing remains in crisis. We need at least $8 billion nationally, which includes $2 billion in Ontario and $3 billion in Manitoba.

“On the same day as the federal budget, there was a headline about a four-month old First Nation baby who died after being taken from its mother in Manitoba. This baby is another victim of an Indian Act system that perpetuates poverty and helplessness. This baby’s mother grew up under a two per cent funding cap that has resulted in at least $25 to $30 billion in lost federal funding. This is the reason why we have children taken from their parents. This is the reason why we have children suffering from lung and skin diseases as a result of living in moldy, cold, overcrowded homes.

“On a positive note, I am currently working in North Caribou Lake First Nation, which just received a national Community Housing Recognition Award for the work being done by Housing Manager Gary Benson and his construction team of community members. This is an example of how leadership and commitment can make a positive difference when there is a focus on addressing the human right to housing.”

In August 2017, Indian And Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was split into two departments – Indigenous Services and Crown-Indigenous Relations. At the same time, the First Nation and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) was absorbed into Indigenous Services. It was also announced that Indigenous Services would be dissolved within 5 years, by 2022, in order to be placed in direct control of First Nation governments.

“We have yet to see how First Nations will take control of our own destinies. In order to truly build our Nations, we need to be our own bureaucrats in order to address our own priorities,” said Day. “In order to assume control of our services and economies, we need to begin now to build capacity in our regional and local systems of government. This means we need the same level of control as provincial and territorial governments.

“True Nationhood will only occur when we have federal budgets in 2022 and beyond that directly transfer so many billions of dollars per year to our own economies and services,” concluded Day. “For the sake of our children, we must act now to build our Nations and control our destinies.”

For more information, please contact Bryan Hendry, Director of Marketing and Communications, at 613-863-1764 or bhendry@bimaadzwin.ca