Present: Chief Allan Polchies Jr, Barb Brown, Montgomery Paul Steven Meuse, Evan Sacobie, Penny Polchies, Tony Gabriel, Melanie Berube, Judy Fullarton, Suzanne McCoy, Heather Currie, Mary Paul, and Shasta Hitchcock
Absent: Shelley Polchies, and Leonard Brooks
Opening Prayer in honour of Chantel Moore and her family
Chantel Moore was a guest in our territory and living in Edmundston, New Brunswick. Chantel was shot and killed by a police officer on Thursday morning by doing a wellness check. She was shot 5 times. Her family arrived in New Brunswick today and the Chief was asked to greet the family. Their family was provided tobacco and welcomed into our community for dinner. The family was cleared by the Chief Medical Examiner. Elder Imedla shared a prayer with them. There is a march set for this weekend in Fredericton. The Chief is going to the march in the north with the family, and the Council is encouraged to stand together during this time where our collective voice is needed. We are not going to sit and wait for justice to happen, we have to make a stand. The Elders are asking that this is done peacefully at this time.
COVID19 Update by EMO and Health
Emergency Measures update by Cody Brooks: There was a situation in the community this past weekend that created some concern in a few different areas. An outside community member entered into the community and was present at a residence. This person travelled around town to a few different establishments within the city that have been since closed down. There are several concerns that still need to be addressed and explored. The province has also received several complaints that a community member did leave the province and returned without self isolating. We have to be diligent and sift through the information that is being provided, as we cannot act on anything by facts. This is why we work with the government officials and back check it before any action is taken. We also have to respect the sensitivity of the community members’ privacy during this time.
We have had numerous incidents in the past few weeks with the potential to increase our risk to COVID19. Our information initiatives are in full effect and we are really needing to hammer down and get more education out there, talk about amendments to our bylaw, and look at the risks fully. Today the Chief Medical Officer released that we are most likely moving into a second wave of cases. Public Health cannot inform us of the results of cases so we rely on people disclosing to us at this time. When people are travelling they are not only putting themselves at risk, but our entire staff. There have been a lot of resources put into these situations and we need a level of accountability with disclosures. We need to approach this with respect.
The team is really torn regarding the protest for Chanel Moore, our hearts hurt for our people during this tough time. There are a lot of mixed emotions because we want to be there and stand together with our people, and for Chantel who was killed in our territory. There is a protest happening this weekend and we do not want to stop people from going, but we need to acknowledge the risk. This is a really difficult time and this has had a major impact on our people. There is going to be a march this coming weekend, but some people want to travel to Zone 5.
Health update provided by Kelly Gallagher: Public health was contacted regarding an employee, and has informed us that the only people at this time who need to self isolate are those who have travelled outside of the province. If someone left for a medical reason or essential service you do not need to self isolate when you return. It also depends heavily on what the officers tell you upon return. There is a lot of misinformation on this topic in the community. People are not getting the message about what the protocols are around this. We want to ensure we are not getting into a fear based response to this. The health team has to ensure they are careful to keep themselves clear of the virus, and at the same time provide services. We do have members who must travel for medical needs outside of the Province.
Council: There is a lot of information available right now as this is a new way of life. We put a lot of emplesis on Seniors but we are also missing the young people, they are getting stressed out, they are getting anxiety. There is a service gap for the youth during these times. We should be looking at a way to inform our members about travelling.
Council: Employees of the band need to be extra vigilant as they are working directly with the people. The provincial emergency measure is vast for a large population, we are a small group of people. Covid could easily spread in our community, and we have to do better as Indigenous people. The Council and our staff need to be extra vigilant.
Council: Community safety day is coming up and could be a good opportunity to engage youth on covid safety and mental health.
Council: Is there going to be a mobile testing unit setup for our community?
EMO: We do not believe this will happen. We have established many relationships but as for mobile testing in the community unless public health is willing to loosen up in this area. We are looking at rapid testing being available for September with the concern on being able to distinguish between COVID and the flu. If a child has the flu and we cannot test them quickly enough they have to isolate for 2 weeks for no reason, this will create stress both emotionally and economically for families. We are not confident that we can make these testing units available.
Health: If there is someone who cannot make it to the testing site Public Health can come to them when a referral is made.
Council: How is the monitoring going at SMEC and Retail?
EMO: For the most part it is running great. There have been no major issues.
Council: Are we going to put up roadblocks?
Action: The threat level is now at medium and we will work on a plan to bring back to Council this week.
Action Item: A communication to the community needs to be shared about the importance of travelling and COVID19. We are possibly entering a second wave and we need to talk about these items. The situation around these issues in the community have created anxiety, stress, disputes, and lateral violence within the community. We need to be supporting each other during these difficult times.
Section 84 Requests – There are 4 requests on the table.
Section 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act ( CCRA ) places a legal responsibility on CSC to provide the Aboriginal community with the opportunity to participate in the release planning process whenever an inmate who is applying for parole expresses an interest in being released to an Aboriginal community…
Presentation by Donna Stephans on the requests: Council has all the letters. Donna is the Aboriginal Development Community Officer who processes section 84’s for corrections Canada. The inmate writes their letter to the Chief and Council requesting if they can come back to the community. If the community says yes they begin a release plan. If the community says no, the process will stop and no further work is done. Section 84 gives the community the opportunity to engage in this process. The community is involved in the release plan to oversee the process and have an input on how they want to bring them back, and what are the expectations, how best to bring them back safely for the person and the community. This is a process that does not happen overnight, and a parole office is still responsible for overseeing the person. The first step is the letter to the community, and each Council has received those. The parole board of Canada has the final decision on the release. The goal is to reintegrate them safely and successfully, it is a big responsibility to the person they name to take them in upon release. The parole board will not release anyone they feel will reoffend and be a risk to the community. Community assisted hearings can be held within the community, the board comes into the community and the community can take part in this.
File 1 – Confidential information shared regarding request. High potential for successfully releasing into the community.
File 2- Confidential information shared regarding request. There have been no issues and the person is following the plan. They recognize their actions and want to do better.
File 3 – Confidential information shared regarding request.
File 4 – Confidential information shared regarding request.
Council: Does the person have to be a registered band member for someone to quality for a
Section 84 release? We have one person here who is not a registered member yet.
Donna: Every community has their own way to deal with membership, this is in the hands of the community. The only concern would be access to services within the community if they are not officially registered.
Council: Have we had a successful section 84 release into the community? What were some protocols that happened previously? What is the success rate?
Donna: The success rate varies and St. Mary’s has had releases before. There are successes across the Atlantic, but there have been failures due to the nature of addiction. The statistics show that when a person has the support of the community they are more likely to succeed and not reoffend.
Action: A staff member has been assigned this file to work on a plan for these requests. This will be complete in the coming week. Council will discuss the files further within the next two weeks.
Community Member Presentation
This is an opportunity for the band and for the community. The goal is to be able to give back to the community. The request is for a retail space for the business, with no subsidies. The plan is to give back to the community. There is an opportunity to train our own members and create something much bigger. There is interest in a partnership.
Action: Council needs to really discuss this opportunity further and be sure to include others in this process through a community presentation. The goal is to ensure everyone in this industry has the opportunity to be part of this process. Someone will be assigned to the file to explore what this would look like, and present back to council in the coming weeks.
(Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy) AFS Agreement
Gillian Paul presented on the legal issues around the AFS Agreement. The agreements are flawed and they do impact and infringe on our food, ceremony, treaty and fishing rights, along with the rights of self government. They dictate fishing methods, and there has been research to show this is not necessary. A recreational fisher in this province has more rights than we do under the agreement. There are also geographical restrictions on our communities. This agreement has been deemed a justified infringement, the court held that by signing the agreement we agree to the infringements. The Chiefs will be meeting tomorrow to talk about this situation and how to move forward together. The six Chief did write to the DFO minister outlining the concerns, but are still awaiting a response. St. Mary signed the agreement last year with a letter of protest. The system is so unfair because even if we do not sign the agreement the infringements stand. There is an option to not sign but if you do not sign you will not receive the funding but the licences will still be issued. The other option is to wait and see how the Minister responds.
Action: Discussion on this file will take place after the Chiefs review the file and provide recommendations.
Community Member Request
Member requesting a loan from royalty.
Action: Work with the member to create a plan for their request and explore options. Council would like to bring in the department and talk about moving things forward.