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(October 1, 2021, Fort McMurray, AB) – Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC) is gravely concerned by the recent rise in COVID-19 numbers in the province of Alberta and is calling on the Government of Alberta to immediately re-introduce measures to help curb the spread and protect our communities. 

“Premier Kenney and newly appointed Minister of Health Jason Copping need to start governing in the face of this continued crisis which is resulting in rising numbers of lost lives and an imminent crash of the public health system,” said Chief Allan Adam, President of Athabasca Tribal Council and Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “As Chiefs, we have governed our Nations throughout the entirety of this pandemic and we are concerned that all of the sacrifices of the past 19 months will be in vain if immediate leadership isn’t taken to correct this dangerous course we are on. This government is not taking their responsibility seriously and there is an apparent lack of leadership. Instead, they are relying on individual businesses, organizations and Indigenous Nations to make decisions that are independent of an overall strategy that is desperately needed.”  

ATC calls upon Premier Kenney to take the following actions immediately:

  1. Stronger public health measures, including a circuit-breaker lockdown, to restrict movement amongst the general public, while still allowing essential services and businesses to operate safely.  
  2. Protect our youth and children in our schools with a provincial-wide school safety plan in advance of the Thanksgiving weekend. 
  3. Reinstate robust contact tracing measures to allow for the full understanding of transmission throughout our communities and to ensure limited spread is taking place. 

“Providing support to our community members throughout the pandemic has been, and will continue to be our top priority,” said Karla Buffalo, CEO of Athabasca Tribal Council. “That being said, I am extremely disappointed to see the lack of quick actions by the Provincial government to provide adequate support and public health measures that are necessary to help reduce infection rates and the rising number of hospitalizations and deaths.” 

“We don’t have the luxury of time to see if piecemeal measures will work. Our healthcare system is hovering well above capacity without the surge actions put in place, in the range of 180% as reported. Our province is seeing increasing deaths every day with a tragic 34 announced on Thursday,” added Chief Adam. “As leaders, we have the responsibility to make difficult decisions that can be unpopular at times. But we have a responsibility to put the health of everyone as the priority. It is time to act.” 


About ATC

Athabasca Tribal Council is an organization that serves our First Nations by providing relevant and innovative programs and services that enrich the well-being, health and prosperity of its people. ATC is committed to ensuring the protection of inherent rights, Treaty Rights, and their Traditional Territories while respecting the autonomy of each Nation. For information, visit


For more information:

Chief Allan Adam
President, Athabasca Tribal Council
Chief, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation