OPINION: Canada tramples on First Nations treaty rights as it works to pay off its COVID-19 bill – by Tanya Talaga (Globe and Mail – September 25, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

This past weekend, I went moose hunting with First Nations youth in Treaty No. 9 territory. Every fall, if we are lucky enough, we head out on the land, where we learn our language and our traditions, and it reminds us who we are.

As we walked during the hunt, it was devastating to come across vast sections of land that were completely barren – clear-cut by forestry companies.

With us was Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler who, until he lost cell service, took call after call on the COVID-19 crisis. The virus had made its way into four of NAN’s 49 First Nations communities – the most it has infiltrated since the pandemic began.

And it has compounded the mental-health crisis gripping the north: Since January, there have been 16 suicides in NAN territory, with seven of the lives lost between 13 and 18 years old.

From the start of this pandemic, Grand Chief Fiddler has had to mobilize a public-health response out of thin air, in communities without access to clean running water, without doctors or nurses or properly stocked health clinics.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-canada-tramples-on-first-nations-treaty-rights-as-it-works-to-pay-off/

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