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:
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 email@example.com / 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org / 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
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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
(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
by James Hopkin
Originally published on June 10 at SooToday.com
Former Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day wants to talk to proponents of the First Nations cannabis industry about the opportunities that exist within going green.
The founder and CEO of Bimaadzwin – a company that provides services related to project management, facilitation and policy analysis, among other things – is using his company to host First Nation Cannabis Reception: Growth, Prosperity and Cultivating a Green Economy, an event slated for Monday evening at Sault Ste. Marie Delta Waterfront.
“It’s a file that obviously has great interest to the federal government, the provincial government and First Nations, and because First Nations have not been effectively engaged and consulted on this,” Day said.
The three-hour reception will be attended by First Nations cannabis retailers that are interested in discussing the idea of forming an association that would help create a framework for certification, testing and compliance going forward.
“Today’s meeting is going to be twofold – it’s going to be to actually discuss some of those internal issues, and how we put those targeted issues and requests,” Day said.
The timing of the Bimaadzwin cannabis reception isn’t pure happenstance, either.
The Chiefs of Ontario will be hosting its 45th annual All Chiefs Conference over the next three days, beginning Tuesday morning in Sault Ste. Marie.
“I don’t suspect it [cannabis reception] will be an overly huge meeting, but I do think it will be a meeting with the right people, and we are going to be sitting down and talking about what some of the communities are doing in the region here, and hopefully, making sure that they’re able to do what they need to do based on support that we can help them define in the chiefs assembly,” Day said.
The cannabis industry has been on Day’s radar for awhile – it precedes his political career – but now, he says, is the time for some clarity in terms of how First Nations enter a new and lucrative industry.
“Many First Nations are dealing with cannabis on a number of different levels, and the way they’re asserting this on a number of different levels is something that should be brought into center, into focus this way – becoming much more clear about how communities engage, and how communities basically come up with their decisions around cannabis, and the priorities that they set out in their cannabis policies,” said Day. “That really should be the discussion we’re having.”
Bimaadzwin is now publishing an online cannabis and hemp industry magazine, Growth and Prosperity, to highlight, in part, the economic opportunities potentially available.
“This is cultivation, it’s administration. It’s in the field, it’s processing, and it’s distribution and retail,” said Day. “So there’s a value chain within cannabis that is really of interest to First Nations, because there has been a lot of money made so far on cannabis, and it is a lucrative industry.”
“We’re now taking the time to examine those opportunities very carefully.”
Day says there’s essentially three ways in which First Nations can enter the cannabis industry – full sovereignty, full Crown compliance or a harmonized approach that would blend elements of Indigenous sovereignty and governmental compliance.
Day believes that many First Nations will end up taking the harmonized approach.
“I don’t think the province or the federal government want to end up in court on this, because there was no real consultation with our communities,” said Day. “There were obviously discussions, but there was nothing that was coordinated on a level…where we could actually be recognized as a party to the enabling legislation – [Bill] C-45 – and then the rollout into the provinces.”
“First Nations are saying, ‘absolutely not, we cannot just take this for what it’s worth to the federal government and the provinces, we have to demonstrate what the worth of this industry is from our perspective,’” he continued. “That means putting in place our community laws, it means sitting at the table and negotiating those frameworks with the province and the federal governments, and basically, making sure that our communities are up to speed and supporting what we’re doing.”
Bimaadzwin has been at the forefront of two National Indigenous Cannabis and Hemp Conference events since the inaugural one, which took place in Alberta in November 2018.
Those events, Day says, have helped push the First Nations cannabis file forward by establishing dialogue.
“We’ve had federal and provincial governments with us all along, so where the Chiefs of Ontario and the AFN [Assembly of First Nations] may have not have been able to actually move this file, you know, being the former regional chief I understand the food chain, the political apparatus in the federal family, and I’ve been able to keep this ball rolling,” he said.
Day says that through Bimaadzwin’s work with the national cannabis conferences and talks with more than a dozen First Nations, the messaging surrounding First Nations involvement in the cannabis industry has been clear – even if the process is not.
“The playing field is not level, I’ll say that much,” said Day. “The First Nations are saying, ‘listen, if we’re recognized as jurisdictions, if we are seen as First Nations, if reconciliation is real – then we should be able to do this as well.’”
(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/
(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.”
World Health Day 2019 is observed worldwide on 7th of April. It is also a day that should remind Canadians that the health care system in Canada continues to be a racialized system that is evidenced in the poor health outcomes of First Nations as opposed to the country’s non-indigenous population.
“The health conditions generally in First Nation communities do not represent equitable health with the rest of Canadians. In fact, there has been a lack of follow-through on Reconciliation as a catalyst to health partnerships,” said Isadore Day, CEO of Bimaadzwin and former Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Health at the Assembly of First Nations. “This lack of commitment is glaring and is proving to show through in the federal government’s poor funding of critical issues like responding to suicides in First Nations.
“This is why we at Bimaadzwin are advocates for the World Health Organization’s efforts to raise global awareness on health equity issues such as the importance of health and wellness, and equal access to health care professionals and facilities.”
“Canada’s 2019 Budget is not indicative of a solutions-based approach toward issues of mental health and addictions – which is unsettling, to say the least,” said Day. “The multi-generational impacts of colonialism, residential schools and a grossly underfunded indigenous healthcare system has certainly exasperated the health conditions of the Indigenous community, only leaving one obvious solution – adequate funding. This flies in the face of what World Health Day represents this year.”
Theme of World Health Day 2019
Just like 2018, the theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal health coverage, according to the World Health Organisation. WHO sees its key aim to ensure that everyone can obtain the care they need, when they need it, right in the heart of the community. WHO chose “Universal Health Coverage” as the theme for World Health Day 2019. Steps are being taken to achieve Universal health coverage for everyone, everywhere and the slogan is “Health for All”.
Bimaadzwin and our team aim to work with First Nation communities to advance their Nationhood objectives in all sectors, including health governance and community planning. Contact us for information and how to get started on making First Nation Health Transformation a reality.
For more information you can reach Bryan Hendry at: email@example.com or 613-863-1764