FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2022
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased to announce that even more vital supplies to help protect citizens both on and off-reserve from COVID-19 have been successfully delivered.
“The most important part of my mandate is to do everything possible to bridge systemic healthcare gaps and create positive outcomes for the people I represent,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “I am justifiably proud of all the southern Chiefs, health care staff in our Nations, and SCO staff for working so tirelessly to make that happen.”
With the arrival of the Omicron variant of the virus, SCO sprung into action to distribute lifesaving supplies on a population basis to southern First Nations and urban centres.
To date, that includes almost 27,000 Rapid Antigen tests to SCO First Nations, along with more than 53,000 high quality N-95, KN-95, and triple layer children sized surgical masks. All supplies are of the highest quality and have been approved by Health Canada.
“What we are seeing here is a wonderful example of how we come together to take care of each other,” said Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation Chief Trevor Prince. “As leaders, we have been fully engaged in a coordinated pandemic response, and this is one more critical step in protecting our people.”
Along with COVID specific supplies, SCO distributed Pedialyte, Advil and Tylenol to community health centres. Meanwhile, supplies for off-reserve members are now available in Winnipeg with plans to distribute to First Nation citizens in Brandon, Manitoba on Wednesday, February 23rd in the afternoon and on Thursday, February 24th during the day. SCO also launched a Mobile Crisis Response Team earlier this week, to support families and communities.
“There’s no question as we approach the second anniversary of the pandemic, that the last two years have presented an enormous challenge to the physical and mental well-being for all of our peoples,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “By coming together and caring for one another, I can say with confidence that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that we will emerge from this latest existential threat to our health, stronger and more united than ever before.”
Due to a multitude of systemic inequities, First Nations people in Manitoba currently represent 27.6 per cent of new COVID-19 cases, 29.5 per cent of hospitalizations, and 61.5 percent of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 81,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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