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Indigenous communities receive COVID-19 support funding

Local leaders say it will help community members

Although they don't have details on how the federal funding from the Indigenous Community Support Fund will be spent, local leaders say it will go toward supporting community members.

The $380 million Indigenous Community Support Fund is distributed to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities as well as urban and off-reserve Indigenous organizations to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the federal government, each First Nation receives a base amount of $50,000 per community with the amount varying depending on the total population, remoteness and community wellbeing. It's for addressing food security, providing mental health support services, transportation, protective equipment, supporting elders and more.

In the region, some of the areas the funding is going to includes:

  • Attawapiskat First Nation – $813,299

  • Kashechewan First Nation – $727,599

  • Kunuwanimano Child and Family Services - $30,000

  • Mattagami First Nation – $130,084

  • Moose Cree First Nation – $769,554

  • Mushkegowuk Council – $100,000

  • Taykwa Tagamou Nation – $89,273.

  • Wahgoshig First Nation - $108,900

  • Weenusk First Nation - $159,244

Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon said he doesn't know if the funding has been received yet. He said it would go towards supporting Indigenous members in Timmins, Cochrane, Moosonee and surrounding areas by providing them with safety supplies and baskets with hygiene items.

Mattagami First Nation Chief Chad Boissoneau said he also wasn’t sure whether his community has received the funding. With the previous COVID-19 funding, the money went towards employing gatekeepers at the community’s 24/7 checkpoint stations, providing community members with sanitary products, basic necessities and food like flour and canned goods.

There are about a dozen attendants who work on a rotational schedule during a week, he said, and the decision to keep the checkpoints is re-evaluated every two weeks.

“We’re also looking at purchasing an emergency trailer that we could use for future emergencies or issues. Right now, we’re renting it on a monthly basis. In the last few years we’ve had forest fires come close to the community, we’ve had flooding washing out our roads that caused a lot of stress on the community members,” Boissoneau said.

“Instead of spending money on renting all this equipment, we might as well spend the money on purchasing it and we’ll have forever to use it for those situations.”

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Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

About the Author: Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering diversity issues for TimminsToday. The LJI is funded by the Government of Canada
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