FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(FORT MCMURRAY, AB – April 28, 2021) – On April 28, 2021 the Indigenous communities of the RMWB met with Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, to advocate for more action to curb the spread of COVID-19 within the region.
“In the midst of the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Indigenous communities of the RMWB begged Minister Shandro to implement changes to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Chief Allan Adam. “After being told by Minister Shandro that despite a deadly surge there would be ‘no new measures to be considered’, we have no choice but to take measures into our own hands.”
“Effective immediately, the 11 Indigenous communities of the RMWB are instructing all First Nation and Metis citizens to pull their kids out of in-class learning at all Northland School division schools,” said Chief Adam. “We have been assured by Northland that your children will be able to continue learning remotely. This is not a measure we take lightly but it’s for the good of not just our people, but the whole region.”
Northland School division had asked Education Minister Adriana LeGrange to move to online learning and she refused. “As a result, we have no choice, if Alberta won’t take action to protect Indigenous families, we will have to do their job for them,” said Chief Adam.
“Why is it that Minister LeGrange agreed to close down the Public and Catholic school systems in Fort McMurray, but refused to do the same for the Indigenous and rural communities?” said President Kendrick Cardinal of the Fort Chipewyan Metis. This government can’t be counted on to protect Indigenous lives.”
“We presented our concerns and recommendations and one by one they shot them down,” says Chief Adam, “All they did was say why they can’t do it, or say that its already being done. Well if they’re doing so much why isn’t it having an effect? Where are these isolation hotels? Where are the vaccines? Where are the ICU beds they promise? All they committed to was sending a newsletter, when has a newsletter ever saved someone’s life? If they can’t provide any of those measures to keep us safe then they have an obligation to implement a lockdown to stop the spread. But until then the Indigenous communities of the RMWB will act alone.”
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE CONTACT
Chief Allan Adam
President, Athabasca Tribal Council
Chief, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation