AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas’ statement on Minister Miller’s announcement
January 14, 2021
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) Grand Chief Arlen Dumas issues this statement in response to today’s announcement by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, on additional new funding to address COVID-19 on First Nations in Manitoba and Indigenous communities across the country. The new funding of $1.2 billion comes at a particularly difficult time for the First Nations in Manitoba as they continue to be grossly and disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Grand Chief Dumas says, “The AMC and its member First Nations welcome today’s announcement of additional new funding of $1.2 billion targeted at bolstering existing First Nations’ prevention, mitigation and recovery measures. Today’s Manitoba First Nations Pandemic Response Coordination Team (PRCT) COVID-19 Bulletin shows that Manitoba First Nations cases currently make up 67% of active cases in Manitoba and 54% of new cases. It is further reported that COVID-19 cases in the North, which is the smallest regional health authority in the province, now outpace cases in Winnipeg and all other regions in the province for COVID-19.”
Grand Chief Dumas went on to state, “As First Nations in Manitoba are pressed to their limits attempting stop the spread of COVID-19, today’s announcement comes as a breath of relief to assist First Nation leadership and health care teams in keeping their most vulnerable citizens safe. This new funding will provide support to Elders, address food insecurity and support existing and new measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in First Nations in the North and across all First Nations within Manitoba.”
Grand Chief Dumas added, “As I noted previously, and I reiterate, First Nations lives are at stake as a result of longstanding health inequities and factors associated with the social and economic determinants of health care. The pandemic continues to worsen in our Nations and on reserve and COVID-19 has laid bare these inequities. I again urge the newly shuffled federal cabinet members to continue to work closely with the First Nations leadership in Manitoba to address these conditions on and off reserve for First Nations citizens during this pandemic and beyond. I specifically commend Minister Miller for his efforts and sincerity in addressing the social and economic needs of First Nations and look forward to working together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the effects of the pandemic on First Nations together.”