FSIN asking for better cooperation to handle COVID-19 outbreaks in the north

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is backing several northern Saskatchewan communities in calling on the province to ensure First Nations and Métis inclusion at highway check stops in the north.

In a news release Saturday, Beauval Mayor Nick Daigneault said that the check stops have been a “big disappointment” as he feel the communities input has been ignored. He cites examples of them hiring their own local security teams, but then the province used it’s own.

Daigneault also alleges that essential service trucks and northern residents are being forced to turn around, after being promised that community members would be able to travel for groceries, after the closure of the town’s lone grocery store.

“It’s sending ripples through the Northwest and triggering a lot of bad memories of isolation and paternalistic tactics by the government,” said Daigneault.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron says that the road closures happened too late, adding that northern leaders need to be involved in the response efforts.

“If the border closures and monitoring started weeks ago, our North wouldn’t be in the fight of their lives to stop the numerous outbreaks,” said Cameron. “Our leaders must be at the table with the provincial government. We must have a unified line of defense against this invisible enemy, and the longer it takes to establish this, the more lives remain in danger of COVID-19.”

Cameron adds that the FSIN is calling on the province to close the provincial borders, and monitor travelers coming in and out of Saskatchewan.

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