Feds give $2.6 million for Indigenous people to go out on the land during coronavirus pandemic

Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya. (CKLB file photo.)

Indigenous Services Canada is supporting Indigenous residents going out on the land during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It announced $2.6 million in funding that will flow through the territorial government to its Indigenous partners.

In a news release, the federal government says the funding is to “support families who would not otherwise be able to be on the land because of the financial burden,” like fuel, food and First Aid equipment.

The federal government also points to the risk of overcrowded homes in Indigenous communities.

“Going out on the land in small groups is appositive and healthy form of physical distance — an important measure in preventing and reducing the spread of the virus,” reads the release.

The territorial government is calling on harvesters to respect harvesting regulations, and says Environemnt and Natural Resources will continue patrolling.

Several Indigenous leaders have already called for residents to go out on the land, including Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya.

In a statement on the funding, Chief Yakeleya said, “Being on the land is our way of life. With the closing of the schools, this is also an opportunity for families and their children to learn more about our culture and traditions and what has sustained us as Dene people for thousands of years.”

The funding is going to the following organizations and will be based on population and remoteness:

  • Akaitcho Territory Government
  • Dehcho First Nations
  • Gwich’in Tribal Council
  • Sahtu Secretariat Inc.
  • Tłı̨chǫ Government
  • K’atl’odeeche First Nation
  • Acho Dene Koe First Nation
  • Salt River First Nation
  • Délı̨ nę Got’ı̨ nę Government
  • NWT Métis Nation

The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, while not part of this funding, also has a local program for beneficiaries going out on the land.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.