COVID-19 is upon us, and we are hoping you will send an urgent gift to help First Nations Communities, who are being hit harder than most.
We're pleased to introduce you to a new charity, the Ma’mo’weh Wii’soo’ka’tiwin Foundation (the name translates to People Helping People), which has been created to help the Kenora Chiefs Advisory – an alliance of nine independent First Nations in Northwestern Ontario.
We had hoped that our new charity would launch with an event in June to fund exceptional youth mental health programs operated by Kenora Chiefs Advisory, including Jays Care Indigenous Rookie League , which Chief Lorraine Cobiness of Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation describes as “by far the most effective mental health program we’ve ever offered to our youth." And while we are determined that this will be our aim in the long term, right now COVID-19 is creating a crisis in our communities. And we hope you will help.
Help indigenous communities through the crisis
First Nations Communities are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 as two or three generations – and sometimes two or three families – may live in one house. This creates a problem if you are told to self-isolate for 14 days owing to a cough and fever. Furthermore, diabetes, heart and lung disease are rampant on many reserves, in numbers higher than in the general population. COVID-19 is more serious for older people with these and other underlying health issues, magnifying the dangers it presents to our elders and people generally.
On top of this, families are worried about food security – and this is one area where I hope you will help. Your gift today could help provide food to a family who is struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The other major problem is around the wellbeing of young people. With schools closed, communities in self-isolation to protect themselves, and no group gatherings, our young people are suffering tremendously.
Which is why, in addition to food, we’re also hoping you can help provide a computer tablet for the young people, allowing them to connect with others while maintaining the appropriate physical distance.
Your gift will ensure that social isolation won’t occur and young people will be engaged, tackling mental health issues and reducing depression and suicidal thoughts. We are already working with our redeployed staff to locate and customize software for tablets and computers for this purpose.
Our goal is to raise $100,000 for much needed food and tablets. Give now to help us reach this goal.
We recognize that this is an uncertain time for many people – so if you are able to give, please know that we will be very grateful for whatever you feel able to spare.
Every day, between one and three youth from our communities arrive at Kenora’s hospital in crisis. Their lack of hope and loss of cultural identity create a perfect breeding ground for serious mental health issues and high rates of school failure, addictions, self-harm and suicide.
Well-balanced meals coupled with engaging activities on the computer tablet (games with others over the Internet, educational programs and exercise videos) will lead to involved young people and stronger, more vibrant communities.
Proceeds from this COVID-19 appeal will benefit over 1,000 young people from Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation (Kenora), Asubpeechoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows), Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (Dalles), Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Pawitik), Washagamis Bay First Nation (Keewatin), Shoal Lake 40 First Nation (Shoal Lake), Wabaseemoong Independent Nations (Whitedog), Northwest Angle #33 First Nation (Pawitik) and Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation (Kenora).
This is a time of crisis for Canada, but also for the people of our First Nations. We hope we can count on your support.
Hoping that you and your family are safe during these troubling times,
Ma’mo’weh Wii’soo’ka’tiwin Foundation Board of Directors
David Zimmer, Board Chair & President, Former Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Eric Fisher, Secretary, Member of Wabaseemoong Independent Nation, former Chief and Council Member
Hanita Tiefenbach, Treasurer, Former Assistant Deputy Minister, Aboriginal and Ministry Relations Division,
Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
Vernon Redsky, Director, Chief Shoal Lake 40 First Nation
Stephen Chan, Director, Founder and CEO of Dapasoft, award-winning software designer of healthcare solutions