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

Attawapiskat: No more promises, no more band-aids, results are needed now

Originally posted at:

Last week, I had the honour and privilege to be the Proxy for Chief Ignace Gull of Attawapiskat First Nation at the Assembly of First Nations’ Annual General Assembly in Fredericton. On his behalf, I introduced an emergency resolution on Safe Drinking Water as a Human Right that was passed unanimously by the Chiefs in Assembly.

Almost since the time the leaders who proceeded Chief Gull signed the 1905 Treaty with Canada, Attawapiskat has lurched from crisis to crisis as a result of being under the discriminatory, and quite frankly genocidal, Indian Act which is overseen by uncaring bureaucrats in Ottawa. These crises have included ongoing unsafe water, youth suicides, drug overdoses, and overcrowded, mouldy housing.

Less than 5 years ago, a non-Indigenous third-party manager, appointed by Ottawa, was found guilty of embezzling 2 million dollars in housing funds from Attawapiskat. Today, a population of 2,000 people, most under the age of 25, continue to suffer from poverty and despair – mostly a manifestation of incompetent and dysfunctional management at the regional and national bureaucratic levels.

Every two or three years, following a protest or hunger strike, Attawapiskat makes the news and gets a few sound bites of concern from the Prime Minister that things will get better as soon as possible. But once the issue dies down, and Canadians are under the false belief that this generation of Attawapiskat children will truly enjoy their childhood, the bureaucrats in Ottawa drop the file. Because, after all, First Nation issues are viewed as faceless files, not life and death human rights issues.

Last week, I was also able to address the latest Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Seamus O’Regan, who briefly visited Attawapiskat a week ago to tell everyone that “Canada cares” and “we will do better”. I reminded Minister O’Regan that after his visit, dozens of women and children marched in Attawapiskat, with signs declaring, “Our Kids Matter, Water is Life” and, “Our People are Dying Slowly.”

You may have said that “Canada cares” but clean water is a human rights issue. Yes, Canada cares when there are water issues in Gander, Newfoundland or in Fredericton, New Brunswick. If there are municipal water issues, they are fixed without delay. If there are First Nation water issues, they linger for years, for decades. Far too many of our children and adults are living with the poor health, cancer, and scars of drinking and bathing in polluted water. 

Canada cares so much about our Peoples that you are sending extra bottled water.

Let me remind you that one of your Liberal Minister predecessors – Andy Scott – from right here in Fredericton – refused to drink the water the last time he visited a First Nation community with unsafe water. That was about 20 years ago.

Twenty years from now, we do not want to see the same problems, the same suffering by our children.

Ending boil water advisories is just one small step. You need to show that Canada cares by investing in the proper infrastructure – from clean water to healthy homes.      

No more words. No more band-aids. We need results now. This will be true reconciliation in action.

First Nation Jurisdiction on Cannabis will Improve the Wealth and Health of our Nations

First Nations must act now – together -- to capitalize on this new green economy that will continue to grow, and has the potential to generate prosperity for decades and generations to come.

Isadore Day

Just over six months ago, Canada legalized cannabis and opened the door to enormous opportunities for those First Nation communities and entrepreneurs who want to get in on the ground floor of a new green economy. The fact that federal government had done little or no consultation with First Nations has become a blessing in disguise. The door is wide open for First Nation control of cannabis.

We have already seen that both Canada and the provinces have had difficulty with the major Licenced Producers, who have not been able to meet the demand. Some of these producers have tried to cut corners by growing in facilities that have not been licenced. Others have produced inferior cannabis products.

Can our communities control the licensing, cultivation, and sale of cannabis and hemp? Yes. Will our community members benefit from long-term employment in the cannabis industry? Yes. First Nations can do a better job of protecting their community members, while generating wealth and improving health through a natural, green industry.

We have already seen First Nation dispensaries open across the country. Every single one appears to be doing a booming business by selling safe, quality products, mostly to mainstream consumers. More importantly, First Nation cannabis retailers have established a reliable national supply chain of products that is far superior to that of the Licenced Producers.

The challenge that First Nations now face is to ensure that we will be able to cultivate, process, and retail cannabis that is entirely legal and legitimate in the eyes of the federal and provincial governments. From a policy perspective, Bimaadzwin has been involved since Day One to help make this a reality. By keeping the door open to government approval, we can establish our own stream of wealth that will transform our economies.

At the end of the day, First Nation involvement in the cannabis industry is all about our communities. Unlike the tobacco industry where only a few become rich, we now have the opportunity to spread the wealth, which will improve the health and well-being of our communities.

In the coming months, those First Nations who want to become involved in the industry must work together based upon sovereignty and jurisdiction. We must engage with the federal and provincial governments to ensure harmonization with mainstream Canada. In fact, we must be able to prove that First Nation cannabis products are equal or superior to those approved by Health Canada.

First Nations must act now – together — to capitalize on this new green economy that will continue to grow, and has the potential to generate prosperity for decades and generations to come.

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

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
 

 

Ontario First Nation chiefs vote to assert jurisdiction over cannabis operations

Photo from The Canadian Press

by James Hopkin

Originally published on June 13 at SooToday.com

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Chiefs of Ontario have passed a resolution enabling First Nations to assert complete jurisdiction to govern all cannabis operations within their own territories.

The resolution was passed during the 45th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference in Sault Ste. Marie Thursday.

Thessalon First Nation Chief Edward Boulrice moved the resolution, with Garden River First Nation Chief Paul Syrette acting as the seconder.

The resolution argues that no consultation took place with the federal government prior to the legalization of cannabis this past October.

“There was little or no community consultation by the federal government and there are still no provisions in the legislation which address First Nation social and cultural needs, and rights to economic development, health and public safety,” the resolution reads.

While the resolution acknowledges that First Nations may consider following federal and provincial regulations while exploring opportunities within the cannabis industry, it also allows First Nations jurisdiction to establish their own laws and regulations.

“First Nations must have their autonomy and authority recognized as rights holders at the table as governments when asserting their interests in the cannabis sector,” the resolution states.

The resolution asserts First Nations jurisdiction over its own operations, which includes ‘regulation of the growth, processing and sale of cannabis and in all its derivatives.’

The document also urges federal and provincial governments to eliminate barriers and to ‘cease interference that would impede nation-to-nation trade and commerce.’

The Chiefs of Ontario represent 133 First Nations throughout the province.

– SooToday.com