"An Anishinabe prophesied that "In about 30 years, if we humans continue with our negligence, an ounce of drinking water will cost the same as an ounce of gold."
Water is essential to survival and health.
Everything is related to water. This is proportionate to Mother Earth. Our food sources use water to be nutritious. The medicine wheel teachings are about balance in life.
A group of Anishinabe-que and supports have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes with a copper bucket of water. They walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, and Lake Huron in 2005. They plan to walk around the remaining great lakes of North America. This walk is to raise awareness how, we, the human beings on this planet need to know, and take care of our precious resource, the water."
Press Release - Native women and supporters walking around Great Lakes - www.motherearthwaterwalk.com
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, April 29, 2006 - A determined group of First Nations women and their supporters will embark on a walk around two Great Lakes beginning Saturday. This spring brings a unique finale to the vision of the Mother Earth Water Walk. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario will be circled simultaneously by two groups of Anishinabe Women and Men.
"It's important to bring awareness to people of the state of our water and that we have to do something about it," said Irene Peters, 67, lead Grandmother on the Lake Erie walk.
"Water is precious and sacred. It is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist," said Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, 63, who will lead the Lake Ontario walk.
The Fourth Annual Mother Earth Water Walk will begin on Saturday, April 29th 2006 at the Niagara Regional Friendship Centre in Niagara-on-the-Lake at 10:30 a.m. with a potluck feast. Both groups of Water Walkers will commence their walk after the feast. The Lake Erie Water Walk is expected to be completed in mid-May.
Grandmother Peters, Grandmother Mandamin and a group of women and supporters from the Three Fires Society are calling for action from each community that they pass through on their walk.
"It is important for each community to think of what they can do to protect the water. Each community will come up with their own ideas of how they can keep the water clean," said Grandmother Peters. "It is also a personal responsibility. We have to ask ourselves: How are we using the water? We should not be wasting the water. We should not be putting our garbage in there," said Peters.
It is their collective belief that the prayers offered for the water will make a positive impact for the future, in that our future generations and all of Creation will flourish with clean water. Water is being constantly polluted by chemicals, vehicle emissions, motor boats, sewage disposal, agricultural pollution and leaking landfill sites, and residential usage, exports and diversions are taking a toll on our water quality and quantity. Both Grandmothers hope the Mother Earth Water Walk will instil a positive dialogue among grass-roots citizens as well as government and policy makers.
The Mother Earth Water Walk started during the Spring of 2003 when Grandmother Josephine Mandamin led a group of walkers around Lake Superior. The Mother Earth Water Walk continued a year later around Lake Michigan. Last spring, the group completed a walk around Lake Huron.
The Walkers hope to raise awareness about the state of the Great Lakes water system and the importance of water as a sacred resource that is essential for life. Peters explains the correlation between her Anishinaabe teachings as a woman, the Anishinaabe creation story and the personal responsibility these women are taking.
"We know in Creation, women are given the gift to create and sustain life. We respect our bodies when we are carrying our children by watching what we put in our bodies. Well Mother Earth gives birth to all life and the water is her lifeblood. She needs to be respected also."
"The Water Walk is an opportunity for us to shift our thinking towards respect for life," concluded Mandamin.
The Water Walkers are working diligently to raise funds for this endeavour. Donations can be made directly to the Mother Earth Water Walkers - or - at the Bank of Montreal (Hyde Park & Oxford Street Branch, London, Ontario. Account Name: Irene Peters & R. Mark Bruder) - or - send cheques and money orders to: "Mother Earth Water Walk" 14615 Selton Line, Thamesville, Ontario N0P 2K0.
Interesting facts about the Mother Earth Water Walk:
Native women and supporters to walk around Great Lakes
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON, April 28, 2006
A determined group of First Nations women and their supporters will embark on a walk around two Great Lakes beginning Saturday.
This spring brings a unique finale to the vision of the Mother Earth Water Walk. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario will be circled simultaneously by two groups of Anishinaabe Women and Men.
WHAT: Launch of the 2006 Mother Earth Water Walk around Lake Ontario and Lake Erie
WHO: Grandmother Josephine Mandamin ("Sweet Corn") Grandmother Irene Peters ("Gram") Anishinaabe-Kwe and Supporters from the Three Fires Society
WHERE: Niagara Regional Native Friendship Centre, 382 Airport Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
WHEN: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 29, 2006
Grandmother Peters, Grandmother Mandamin and a group of women and supporters from the Three Fires Society will commence their walk after the feast. It is their collective belief that the prayers offered for the water will make a positive impact for the future, in that our future generations and all of Creation will flourish with clean water.
Platinex described by Mining Watch Canada as "a penny stock junior company with no other properties" (Feb 2006 article) is now trying to get the Ontario courts to give it access to Big Trout Lake traditional territories.
From the Ontario Superior Court of Justice order dated April 18, 2006, Platinex Inc. and their lawyers are now suing ...
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, Donny Morris, Jack McKay, Cecilia Begg, Samuel McKay, John Cutfeet, Evelyn Quequish, Darryl Sainnawap, Enus McKay, Eno Chapman, Randy Nanokeesic, Jane Doe, John Doe and Persons Unknown.
The plaintiff claims the following relief against the defendants, jointly and severally:
The Ontario Health Quality Council (http://www.ohqc.ca) released its first yearly report for 2006. The summary document that is being distributed in newspapers across the province and is available online at http://www.ohqc.ca/en/docs/OHQC_Summary_2006EN.pdf documents two very important findings.
FROM: THE TORONTO STAR NEWSPAPER -
Aboriginals, Immigrants Lose Out On Health Care, Report Suggests - Apr. 26, 2006 - CANADIAN PRESS
Aboriginals, immigrants and low-income families have less access to health care in Ontario than most other residents, says a report released Wednesday by a new agency established to monitor medicare in the province.
The first report of the Ontario Health Quality Council called it a "disturbing reality" that some Ontario residents aren't getting the health care they need "because of who they are."
Council chairman Ray Hession said the agency is simply reporting the reality of the current situation in Ontario, but has not yet had time to determine the reasons behind the findings.
"The indications that led us to say that are what they are: there is disparity, there is inequity," Hession told a news conference.
"We need to assiduously find the reasons why, particularly in the area (of) the aboriginal community."
The council, an arm's-length agency established last fall by the Liberal government, also found higher-income Ontario residents suffering from chest pains get to hospitals faster than those earning lower incomes, who tend to suffer from more serious ailments.
It said women are 50 per cent more likely than men to get a prescription for a tranquillizer, but women with heart disease are less likely to receive diagnostic tests and surgery.
"I imagine there are attitudinal influences there," Hession said.
Surprisingly, the council found northern Ontario residents have better access to heart procedures, hip and knee replacements and cataract and cancer surgeries than those in the south.
But despite all that care, northerners are less healthy and live shorter lives, the report said.
"The north health network is a superb example of the use of communications and technology to deliver care, remotely," Hession said.
"Ontario probably has the best — if not the most widely used — such facilities, but it still leaves us with degrees of disparity. But it's a whole lot better now than was the case."
Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson said the Liberals would use the data in the council's report to find ways to address the shortcomings in health-care delivery.
"It's helpful for us, because it acts as an opportunity for us as a government to improve the health-care system," he said. "I don't look at it as a negative — I look at it as good information."
NDP Leader Howard Hampton said the Liberal government is to blame for many of the problems uncovered in the report.
"Low-income Ontarians and aboriginal people are paying more for health care through the new McGuinty health tax, and are getting less access to health care," he said. "It just shows some of the fundamental unfairness under the McGuinty government."
Conservative health critic Elizabeth Witmer called the report ``an embarrassment" to the Liberal government.
"It's not showing a lot of improvements in recent years," she said.
The health council also said Ontario and Canada should act much more quickly to establish electronic records for every patient, which it believes are fundamental to measuring the performance of the health-care system.
"That's the No. 1 issue if we're going to see real quality improvement in our health system in this province," Hession said. ``What's taking so long? Why are we so tentative about this?"
The council used a 2004 study to determine there were 32,000 people in Ontario who had what it calls "adverse events" after entering hospitals or long-term care facilities, but complained it couldn't adequately determine the exact nature of those events without electronic patient records.
The report found that only four per cent of Ontario hospitals had dedicated stroke units, which have been proven to reduce deaths and costly stays in hospital, but that information was based on data from 1997. Updated figures on the number of stroke units were not available.
Hession said instead of focusing on waiting lists, governments should address the issue of "appropriate access to appropriate care in an appropriate setting."
He said the waiting lists are a result of health-care cutbacks implemented by the previous Conservative government in the mid-1990s, when the numbers of nurses and doctors were reduced.
Are you a community innovator? Does your community support and encourage innovation?
The following document provides a great resource for community leaders and individuals to review and work through to identify areas of innovation that are happening in your community and across the region. TAKING control and building the type of community where are children and families are able to thrive is what this work is all about ...
A Framework for Innovative Rural Communities
Supporting an Innovation Culture within Rural & Northern Communities
The Innovative Rural Communities project has been undertaken by a collaborative led by the University of Guelph along with three independent consultants specializing in rural development: M.E. Robertson & Associates, Alpha Projects and C. Lang Consulting.
Northern Distinctions ...
Although the research shows many similarities in terms of the innovation process and the conditions that enable innovation to flourish across rural and northern communities, the unique characteristics and conditions of northern communities warrant special reference.
Why rural innovation?
Many rural and northern communities today are surviving — not thriving. Yet rural innovators are creating new opportunities and bringing a sense of renewal to their communities and regions. Innovation is alive and well in rural Ontario!
Rurality is key — not a barrier — to these innovations. Innovation is one way to harness rural assets and put them on the path to progressive change. Innovators and their ingenuity have always been important in northern and rural communities. Nurturing this spirit in your communities is what Innovation Pathways is all about.
“Innovation responds to needs and establishes what you do. There is a healthy discontent with the way things are, and innovation addresses this discontent.”
- Rural Innovator
What is innovation?
When you work with these tools, think about innovation in its broadest sense. Innovation is about new products, processes and markets. It’s also about change.
Innovation for what?
Innovation can be for commercial purposes — a new product, service or market. For instance, value-added production of wood or agricultural products is an innovation for commercial purposes.
Innovation can be for community development. For instance, a community might lobby for new broadband services. Or it might start planning how to combine efforts for a new economic or cultural activity.
Innovation can be for environmental or natural resource management. For instance, a community might design new recycling services or form a wind energy co-operative.
Innovation can be for public program or policy. For instance, a community might develop a new land use policy. Or it might create a youth mentorship program.
Looking at your community through the ‘innovation lens’
When you look for innovation in your community, be sure to look for projects that are having different kinds of impacts. You may find creative projects that benefit individuals, organizations or businesses. Innovators in these cases are often overlooked. Think about the potential these projects have for benefiting more people in your community. Try to include everyone whose ‘know-how’ could be an asset in your innovation planning.
And try to include local innovators to look at things through the ‘community lens’. Are they planning a project that might create work? Have they linked up with local training and employment services?
Finally, remember to look at innovations that reach beyond your local community. These may bring in new wealth by making the most of both regional and local assets. Rural innovators need to think globally as well as locally — both to find good ideas and to market their innovations.
|Project Updates |
The Fifth Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Gathering of Indigenous people from around the world
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - August 6 to 11, 2006
Visit http://www.hosw.com for more information.
Be sure to watch the video showing how this international movement and now the fifth gathering began with a vision by respected elder, Maggie Hodgson.
Press Release ... National forum series launched to help employers tap into Aboriginal workforce talent and address Canada's shortage of skilled workers
SASKATOON, April 27 /CNW/ - Workforce Connex (http://www.workforceconnex.com/english_home.htm), a national forum series to help resolve barriers and open the potential for industry to effectively access, train, recruit and retain an Aboriginal workforce, has launched in Ontario. The national series will host forums in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Labrador, Quebec and Alberta.
Through open dialogue, the forums will link the private sector and Aboriginal Employment Centres together to form partnerships that offer resolve to Aboriginal employment training, recruitment and retention issues. "The outcome of the forums will ultimately translate into employment opportunities for Aboriginal people", said Bonnie Vermette, Employment Counselor and member of the Ontario Workforce Connex planning group. "Many regions of Canada are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. Employers are searching for innovative solutions to address the issue and capture the many opportunities now available to them. Aboriginal people are ready and willing to answer the call to fill the employment gap."
"Aboriginal people are Canada's fastest growing and largely untapped human resource," said Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada (http://www.ahrdcc.com/welcome/welcome_e.htm). Aboriginal people have talent and skills. They are a solution to many of Canada's skill shortages. Almost one in five Aboriginal men aged 25 to 64 with qualifications beyond high school held a trade or college level credential in building and construction technologies or trades. Another 25 per cent were college and trade level graduates of industrial, mechanical or electronic engineering technologies and trades.
From 1996-2001 the Canadian working age population grew by five per cent, while over the same period, the Aboriginal labour force grew by 25 per cent. This young upwardly mobile labour force needs workplace opportunities for training, skills development and employment. Awakening firms to this win-win opportunity is one of goals of the workforce forums. In a survey conducted by the CanadaWest Foundation, Canadian business and labour leaders said that hiring Aboriginal workers is not considered an important solution to solving their skill needs; only 13 per cent of business leaders and 21 per cent of labour leaders rated this activity very important. "This finding suggests that on a national scale, a disconnect exists between the potential skills contribution made by the Aboriginal workforce and the view held by some business and labour leaders on this contribution. This is the reason for Workforce Connex," said Lendsay.
At the conclusion of the forum series, the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council and Canada's regional Aboriginal Employment Centres expect that many new regional partnerships will have been established across Canadian due the increased connections, understanding, learning and mutual respect that has been developed through the Workforce Connex series.
The Council is developing the Workforce Connex forums in partnership with Aboriginal employment centres across the country. These centres, part of a national Aboriginal human resource strategy, can help employers to source Aboriginal talent. The Council is also pleased to be working with the federal department of Human Resource and Social development who have provided funding for this initiative.
The Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada (http://www.ahrdcc.com/welcome/welcome_e.htm) is a national not-for-profit organization funded by the private and public sectors to create links between Canada's employers and the Aboriginal community. The Council provides leadership on supply and demand issues that address the development of effective training, recruitment and retention strategies for Aboriginal people.
/For further information: Peggy Berndt, Manager, Communications, Aboriginal Human Resource Development Council of Canada, 1-866-711-5091 (toll-free), (780) 720-1118 (cell), email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.workforceconnex.com/
from KO Telehealth web site at http://telehealth.knet.ca
KO Telehealth is pleased to make the Final Telehealth Evaluation Report available to partners and stakeholders. Key messages from the Final Report are summarized in the areas of Access, Acceptability, Integration, Quality and Financial Impact.
“Our lives have been completely changed by the services we now receive over the network. Having telehealth care and also having secondary education services available in our communities is making us stronger as a people.”
- Geordi Kakepetum, Executive Director
Appendix 1 Evaluation Framework - PDF - 17 pages
Appendix 2 Evaluation Manual - PDF - 51 pages
Appendix 3 Economic Model - PDF - 51 pages
Appendix 4 Figures and Tables - PDF - 18 pages
Appendix 5 Focus Groups and Interviews - PDF - 74 pages
AFN Press Release - April 27
National Chief Denounces Government Inaction in Addressing The TB Outbreak in Garden Hill First Nations
OTTAWA, April 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine commented today following a meeting with Garden Hill First Nation Chief David Harper regarding the deplorable lack of assistance provided to the Garden Hill First Nation which currently is facing more than a dozen cases of active tuberculosis (TB) in their community of 3,500. National Chief Fontaine stressed the need to raise national attention to the alarming situation in Garden Hill.
"This community requires urgent assistance to protect further spread of this TB outbreak, a highly communicable disease that most Canadians would associate more closely with the Third World," stated National Chief Fontaine, "A strong commitment from federal and provincial governments is also immediately required to prevent recurrent outbreaks in Garden Hill and other First Nations communities in the longer term."
In a 1999 report, Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch recognized that: "TB is far more likely to occur in communities with higher levels of crowding (and) other risk factors for TB, such as poverty, substance abuse, remoteness, and various underlying medical conditions."
77% of the homes in Garden Hill were built before 1979, and only 4% of those homes have access to running water. Compounding the problem, overcrowding is three times greater than the Canadian average.
"When we first told of the presence of active TB in our community, doctors from Toronto and Vancouver were flown in," recalls Chief Harper. "They told us to cough with our hands over our mouths and then wash our hands. We had to tell them that in this community there is no such thing as turning on a tap and having easy access to safe water. Things other Canadians take for granted is not the reality in our community."
Recurrent outbreaks in isolated communities such as in Garden Hill First Nation require new investments in housing and infrastructure, health human resources and public health. The Government of Canada committed in the 2005 budget and in the First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna to improve housing conditions.
"The $600 million in housing and the $1.3 billion in health announced at the First Ministers Meeting must be honored by the new government," emphasized National Chief Fontaine, "Otherwise, situations such Garden Hill and Kashechewan First Nation will continue to bring shame to Canada. This is simply unacceptable in a country that is boasting of a surplus. If we do not invest now then Canada will continue to pay for the social and economic costs of this broken system. We hope that in the upcoming federal budget the new Government will recognize the need to work with us to build a better quality of life for First Nations."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
Backgrounder on Tuberculosis in First Nation Communities
- In 2001, the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) disease in First Nations communities was, on average, ten times higher than that of the Canadian population as a whole (6 per 100,000).
- Between 1975 and 2002, there was a significant decline in the number of cases and incidence rate of TB among First Nations. Most of the positive impact was achieved by 1992.
- Over the last ten years, there has been limited improvement in further reducing the incidence of TB among First Nations, especially in western provinces.
- Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) implemented the Tuberculosis Elimination Strategy in 1992, with the goal of reducing incidence of TB disease in the First Nations on-reserve population to 1 per 100,000 by the year 2010. FNIHB underwent a major review of the Strategy in 2005-06. No results have yet been shared with AFN.
- It is not uncommon for communities in western provinces to have 30-50% of their population infected with the bacteria that causes TB. In 2005, Manitoba overall had a total of 42 cases (down from 67 the year before) of TB disease reported on reserve.
- People who are infected with these bacteria may or may not develop TB disease during their lifetime. Only a small minority (10%) of people with these latent infections develop disease.
- Repetitive TB outbreaks in endemic communities contribute substantially to the national TB notification rate. In 1999, 40% of First Nations on-reserve cases of active TB disease occurred in only 5 First Nations communities.
- The Canadian Lung Association states that "For Aboriginal peoples, the overall proportion contributed to the total Canadian TB case load continues to be substantial (...) TB continues to infect Canadians because there exists a reservoir for the disease among population groups considered "high risk". Individuals at high risk for tuberculosis fit into one of two groups: first are those whose immune system is compromised, such as patients with HIV; and second are those located in socio-depressed areas, which may include inner-city slums, reservations, or underdeveloped countries". (http//www.lung.ca/tb/tbtoday/resurgence/)
- Housing is an important determinant of health. Inadequate housing can play role in the spread of tuberculosis and other diseases, according to many sources:
- The 1999 Tuberculosis in First Nations Communities report from FNIHB states that: "TB is far more likely to occur in communities with higher levels of crowding. It is recognized that overcrowded communities may also be more likely to suffer from other risk factors for TB, such as poverty, substance abuse, remoteness, and various underlying medical conditions." In fact, housing density was seen as a significant predictor of TB incidence.
- The Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Chapter 6, April 2003, page 3: "Poor housing conditions negatively affect the health, education, and overall social conditions of individuals and communities on reserves".
- The Canadian Policy Research Networks Inc, December 2004, page 2 , "There is a growing body of evidence that housing circumstances effect the physical and well being of families and individuals. This relationship has important practical consequences for policy, as improving housing circumstances should improve health". "Housing Advocates must argue, with supporting evidence, that housing expenditures can reduce health care costs"
- The Greenlining Institute. Housing: the foundation for individual and community health. San Francisco: The Greenlining Institute; 2002, page 23. "They note that poor physical housing conditions are associated with respiratory infections, asthma, tuberculosis, and injuries in children."
- The Government of Canada committed, both in the 2005 budget amendments and in the commitments from the First Ministers Meeting in Kelowna, to improving housing for First Nations. The overcrowding at Garden Hill First Nation and in other First Nation communities, and the consequent effects on health, require immediate action to let those funds flow.
Garden Hill First Nation
- Manitoba Health is currently reporting a new TB outbreak in 20 First Nations living in Manitoba. This includes both confirmed cases and suspected cases of TB. The majority are Garden Hill First Nation residents.
- Garden Hill First Nation's total population living in the community is over 3,500 members. Garden Hill First Nation has only 504 dwellings. The town of Altona, Manitoba, by comparison, has a population of 3286 (1996 census), with 1455 occupied dwellings. No new housing units have been built since 1998 and 77% were built before 1979. Garden Hill's overcrowding ratio is 6.35 persons per room; this is nearly three times the Canadian average of 2.6 persons per room. Only 20 dwellings or 4% of the community has access to running water. Of the 504 units, 16% require a major repair which is twice that required by Canadians overall (8%). In fact, according to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, only 59% of existing units can be termed as adequate housing.
- Garden Hill First Nation has no year-round road access to a service centre and, as a result, experiences a higher cost of transportation. Distance, measured directly, to the nearest service centre is between 400 Km and 480 Km. Patients who need to be medically evacuated from the community must travel by boat from the health centre to the airport.
- Manitoba Health and FNIHB (Manitoba Region) are conducting contact tracing activities in the community. However, since the first TB case was not diagnosed for more than eight months, the community's leadership has requested community-wide screening; however, they are not being granted this request based on the lack of resources made available to assist them.
- While a full complement of nine (9) nurses is required in the community on an ongoing basis, this level of capacity has never been reached and the community relies on less than half the number of nurses. Due to the outbreak only, FNIHB has increased the number of nurses available in the community on a temporary basis. On April 18, a full time TB nurse for the community started. As well, 2 TB regional nurses and an X-ray technician have travelled into Garden Hill.
BRIEFING - Garden Hill First Nation Tuberculosis Outbreak - April 25, 2006
Manitoba Health is currently reporting a cluster of tuberculosis (TB) cases in northern Island Lake communities. A total of 20 active cases have been detected to date. 14 of these cases are among residents of Garden Hill First Nation whose total population is over 3533.
These numbers are not insignificant, and represent half of the total number of TB cases seen last year in Manitoba.
Garden Hill First Nation requires immediate assistance to prevent further spread of the disease, as well as long-term investments to eliminate the threat of recurrent outbreaks.
Immediate Assistance Required
The source case remained undiagnosed for over eight months. Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) and Manitoba Health are conducting contact tracing, but the community is requesting community-wide screening. This request has been denied by FNIHB due to the need for additional resources to be made available to the community. As well, community leadership is having difficulty accessing information on the number of active cases and those undergoing treatment in a timely fashion.
Chief David Harper temporarily closed the elementary school and day care due to workers at these facilities having been diagnosed with the disease. The community leadership is seeking reassurance that more cases will not remain undetected and expose children to unnecessary risk.
Additional nursing staff is required to support Directly Observed Therapy. While a TB nurse has been assigned to Garden Hill in the interim (since April 24) and 2 TB regional nurses and an X-ray technician visited the community, regular nurses are overburdened with dealing with new TB cases and the overall standard of care has been seriously compromised.
The Northern Medical Unit of the University of Manitoba will be conducting a self-assessment of what led the TB source case to remain undetected for so long. This assessment should be conducted by an independent agency, selected by the Garden Hill First Nation leadership, since the Northern Medical Unit is responsible for service delivery in the community. There is a clearly a lack of objectivity.
In 2001, the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) disease in First Nations communities was, on average, ten times higher than that of the Canadian population as a whole (6 per 100,000). Between 1975 and 2002, there was a significant decline in the number of cases and incidence rate of TB among First Nations. Most of the positive impact was achieved by 1992. This is despite FNIHB's Tuberculosis Elimination Strategy, implemented in 1992, with the goal of reducing incidence of TB disease in the First Nations on-reserve population to 1 per 100,000 by the year 2010.
Over the last ten years, there has been limited improvement in further reducing the incidence of TB among First Nations, especially in western provinces.
The 1999 Tuberculosis in First Nations Communities report from FNIHB states that: "TB is far more likely to occur in communities with higher levels of crowding. It is recognized that overcrowded communities may also be more likely to suffer from other risk factors for TB, such as poverty, substance abuse, remoteness, and various underlying medical conditions." In fact, housing density was seen as a significant predictor of TB incidence.
The TB outbreak in Garden Hill is no doubt rooted in a series of confounding factors: isolation, lack of community control over resource requirements and intervention strategies, poor housing conditions, lack of running water and lack of nursing capacity.
- No new housing units have been built since 1998. The total number of units if 504 of which 392 (77%) were built before 1979. Garden Hill's overcrowding ratio is 6.35 persons per room; this is nearly three times the Canadian average of 2.6 persons per room.
- Only 4% of units have access to running water. Despite this, INAC has not included Garden Hill First Nation, or any other Manitoba First Nation community, in its "high-priority" list of communities to be addressed in the newly announced First Nations Drinking Water Action Plan.
- Of the 504 units, 16% require a major repair which is twice that required by Canadians overall (8%). In fact, according to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, only 59% of existing units can be termed as adequate housing.
- Garden Hill First Nation has no year-round road access to a service centre and, as a result, experiences a higher cost of transportation. Distance, measured directly, to the nearest service centre is between 400 Km and 480 Km.
- Patients must travel by boat from the health centre to the airport when they require medical transportation. Often, the boat must turn around before reaching the airport due to the need to stabilize the patient.
- FNIHB has defined the total complement of nurses needed in Garden Hill First Nation to be 9 nurses. This level of capacity has never been achieved and the community relies on 4 nurses or less than 50% of FNIHB's estimated capacity requirement.
In light of the above, the elimination of TB in Garden Hill First Nation requires a commitment from the federal government to the following:
- Investments in housing and infrastructure. INAC Region has expressed some support for new water infrastructure, but restricted it to the central part of the community. This will only reach 200 units.
- Investments in nursing capacity, to ensure recruitment and retention of a minimum of 9 nurses, as determined by FNIHB to be required.
- Improved sharing of data between First Nations leadership, FNIHB and Manitoba Health to ensure a coordinated and agreed-to approach to addressing public health issues and emergencies.
/For further information: Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director, (613) 241-6789 ext. 320, cell (613) 292-2787; Ian McLeod, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, (613) 241-6789 ext. 336, cell (613) 859-4335/
Two representatives from Telesat Canada (Mike Collins and Elaine Robichaud) visited Sioux Lookout today to meet with the National Indigenous Community Satellite Network (NICSN - http://smart.knet.ca/satellite) to discuss efforts to acquire additional satellite bandwidth for the NICSN members.
The NICSN team with reps from the Keewatin Tribal Council in Northern Manitoba, the Kativik Regional Government in Northern Quebec and the Kuhkenah Network in Northern Ontario met with the folks from Telesat to identify strategies to support the application to Industry Canada's National Satellite Initiative and Infrastructure Canada to purchase additional satellite space. Carl Seibel, Industry Canada FedNor, also called into this meeting from Vancouver.
A tour of the network facilities and the available resources provided the team with information about how the existing network is maintained and sustained by the members.
Community members from Fort Albany and Kashechewan are now living in temporary shelters in Thunder Bay and Geraldton due to spring flooding in their communities. See the news coverage below ...
NAN Press Release - April 26
NAN commends City of Thunder Bay and Red Cross for emergency preparedness
THUNDER BAY, ON, April 26 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy highly commends the efficiency and effectiveness of combined efforts of the City of Thunder Bay, Police, Fire and Rescue, Superior North EMS, Emergency Management Ontario, and Canadian Red Cross in preparing for approximately 300 evacuees from Fort Albany First Nation - the second NAN community evacuated in the past five days due to severe flooding.
"I commend the City of Thunder Bay's initiative and preparatory work of the Red Cross, emergency personnel, and volunteers in coordinating two working shelters well before the majority of residents from Fort Albany arrived in Thunder Bay yesterday afternoon," said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy who represents the 49 First Nation communities part of James Bay Treaty 9 territory, including Fort Albany. "It's great to see the community of Thunder Bay come together to assist our people and we look forward to working along side them at the two sites."
Evacuees from the First Nation community neighbouring Kashechewan First Nation on the coast of James Bay arrived in Thunder Bay late Tuesday afternoon after concern of flooding and ice movement in and around the community with an approximate total population of 700.
"I'd like to thank the city Thunder Bay and volunteers for their assistance and am hopeful the current situation is short-term and expect community members will be able to return home soon," said Fort Albany Chief Mike Metatawabin.
The evacuation is not expected to last more than a week.
The Canadian Red Cross is accepting volunteers through their Human Resources department at the local office, however will not accept clothing or food donations.
/For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952, (807) 628-3953 (cellular)/
Ontario flies people out of a second reserve, chief says no need
Tue, 25 Apr 2006 - CBC News
Some people from a second Cree reserve in Ontario's James Bay lowlands are being flown south to avoid possible flooding, although the band chief says there's no clear danger.
The Fort Albany First Nation faces Kashechewan – the scene of epic water problems and repeated evacuations – across the broad delta of the Albany River.
Fort Albany declared a state of emergency on Sunday amid fear that the spring ice breakup would release a deluge, but the alert was put on hold after a surveillance flight on Monday.
Chief Mike Metatawabin told CBC News he did not request an evacuation but people living in one of three settlements on the reserve, Sinclair Island, called a provincial agency and said they wanted to leave.
He said he expected about 130 to make the trip to Thunder Bay.
The other Fort Albany settlements are on the mainland and Anderson Island. The combined population is about 900.
An Emergency Management Ontario official said the agency was acting on a request from a band representative and was set to provide flights for as many as 330 people.
Meanwhile, people from Kashechewan continued to be airlifted out to join others in Cochrane and elsewhere.