I know that we are all watching the development of the coronavirus pandemic with feelings of concern and uncertainty. The Coastal First Nations communities – and the world in general – are in uncharted territory.
It is important we remain calm, show solidarity and stand by each other in this challenging time. At the same time we must take steps to protect our community members as the arrival of COVID-19 in any of our communities could have dramatic and dangerous consequences.
To protect you and your families, our staff, and the communities we live and work in, we closed our Vancouver office March 13. Our staff are working from home. In doing this, we are working hard to uphold our responsibility to prevent the virus spreading further, while ensuring our organization continues to carry out its work.
Coastal First Nations communities are doing everything they can to minimize the threat of COVID-19. Many Indigenous communities have closed their territories off to anyone but community members and essential service providers. Dealing with a fast-moving virus-like COVID-19 is not and will not be an isolated incident. It is essential that we be prepared and lead by example.
More than ever, it is important to learn from each other, ask for help and share resources. Your neighbours are your greatest assets! Ask them how they are handling this situation, what decisions they are making and why. Ask them for advice and an opportunity to learn from each other.
In order to facilitate this, we have created a COVID-19 page on our website that shares information on how our communities, other Indigenous groups and our neighbours are dealing with this crisis. We hope these resources and strategies help your community navigate this time. We will share your ideas and helpful resources and we will update this page regularly.
Our communities – and our partners and supporters – can model the way, and enable the most important work in our communities to continue during this challenging time.
Keep us posted. We’ve got your back.
President, Coastal First Nations