Secwepemc leaders: ‘Stay safe, stay healthy, stay connected’

Leaders of 16 First Nations set out priorities for surviving the coronavirus pandemic

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay connected are the wishes of the leaders of the Secwepemc Nation for their members during the pandemic.

Calling March 23 a significant action day, the 16 bands which make up the nation met to create plans for facing the coronavirus.

In the North Okanagan-Shuswap, those bands include Neskonlith, Adams Lake, Little Shuswap Lake and Splatsin.

A news release outlines the focus on wellness and safety of Secwepemc people amid the COVID-19 pandemic and state of emergency in Secwepemcúl’ecw and B.C.

“Leadership, health staff and other vital staff from Secwepemc communities gathered virtually to share the essential services that each community is undertaking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Secwepemcúl’ecw. It is the nation’s priority to work together to prepare for this pandemic, but most importantly be proactive,” states the release.

The measures being undertaken include effective messaging of COVID-19 precautions to all members and respective communities, but especially to youth.

Under five ways to stop the virus, strategies include: washing hands often, coughing into elbows, not touching faces, staying more than three feet apart and, if people are feeling sick, staying home.

Read more: Too much information? Here’s a compilation of details about Salmon Arm so far

Read more: Secwepemc knowledge-keeper’s contributions recognized by Province of B.C.

Read more: Comprehensive COVID-19 world update as of Monday afternoon, March 23

Other pieces of the plan include providing adequate and timely funding to support all nation members, as well as sharing resources between communities so none are left out.

They also include advocating for and securing access to all essential materials, protective measures and health care; implementing consistent and coordinated communication to actively resolve concerns as they arise; and ensuring food security for communities.

“The Kukukwpi7 request that our Nation members support one another during this very difficult time. It is important that we all take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” states the release. “Secwepemc Nation members stand to have considerable impacts on our most vulnerable Elders, immunocompromised and members with pre-existing and chronic health conditions. It is the duty of each of us to care for one another. It is not a time to panic, rather it is a time to act rationally for the strongest defence.”

The Secwepemc Kukukwpi7 (chiefs) asked that all of their members stay safe, stay healthy and stay connected.

The news release was signed by representatives of all 16 bands.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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