The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians have told the Federal government since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis that First Nations people are among the most vulnerable communities at risk of COVID-19 due to several factors.
The Federal Government had dispersed an initial amount of funds to assist the Indigenous people to help deal with the ongoing pandemic, along with reassurances and that more would be forthcoming as the situation evolved.
It is now apparent that those monies while appreciated are not sufficient, and our member nations are forecasting significant deficits.
We are nearing a critical point where the initial funding has run dry and the assurances of more assistance are starting to look just as empty.
Grand Chief Joel Abram stated "Minister Miller stated on our leadership conference calls, and to me personally, that the initial amount was what they could get out right away so it was clearly understood that more would be coming. Now, we are facing severe deficits, and nothing seems to be on the horizon to help. Our people are growing worried about our ability to continue in the efforts to protect, feed, and provide for our seniors, and young in particular. The time has come to live up to those promises made.”
First Nations communities have had to struggle with providing badly needed medicines, grocery delivery, meal services, border security, cleaning, and sanitization not to mention the need for mental health support services and education. Funds and resources are needed for immediate relief, but also to prepare for a secondary crisis that will come in the form of trying to acquire some semblance of balance again.
The Canadian government has a history of underfunding the Indigenous people and now when it is a matter of life and death, it is not the time to drag their feet.
AIAI is mandated as a Political Territorial Organizations (PTO) to defend and enhance the Indigenous and Treaty rights of our seven-member First Nations. Our member nations include Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks.