CAFN Council Declares State of Emergency

April 7, 2020

Statement by Kaaxnox, Dän Nätthe Äda (Chief Steve Smith)

Champagne and Aishihik First Nations has declared a state of emergency.

Declaring a state of emergency gives our government the flexibility to act quickly and efficiently to put in place measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our CAFN Citizens and Settlement Land. CAFN has the authority to take emergency measures under our Self-Government Agreement, our inherent right to self-government and under the CAFN Constitution.

It is a practical and important step to address the pandemic. The declaration is valid for 60 days. As things change rapidly, we continually re-evaluate our approach.  We want to ensure that COVID-19 does not find its way into CAFN communities.

This declaration aims to protect our Citizens, our employees and the members of our communities, especially our Elders and vulnerable Citizens.

This move is in line with many provinces, territories and First Nations across Canada. Canada and Yukon have already taken measures to increase their ability to act decisively in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council may, at its discretion, decide to issue CAFN emergency orders by way of resolution to establish temporary measures. The measures taken may vary in different communities, depending on the specific needs and concerns of those communities.

CAFN expect all its Citizens to follow the public health and safety measures put in place by the governments of Canada and Yukon.  To be clear, the Yukon Government has the right to enforce these orders with fines and imprisonment.  This applies to all Citizens, including residents on Settlement Lands.  Please:

  • Wash your hands often;
  • Stay Home. Avoid non-essential travel;
  • Self-isolate for 14 days and/or quarantine when leaving or returning to the Yukon or Canada (these are the law and are enforceable by Canada and Yukon);
  • If you or an immediate household member have traveled outside the Yukon or Canada and cannot safely self-isolate at home, email covid19@gov.yk.ca;
  • Be vigilant about self-monitoring for symptoms;
  • Report COVID-19 symptoms: If you or your immediate family have symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, phone 811 and stay home.  Use the COVID-19 online assessment tool at Yukon.ca to help;
  • Practice social/physical distancing – of at least 2 metres (6 feet) with other people. This is essential;
  • Do not gather with anyone other than the members of your household (this includes social gatherings of any sort, and includes gatherings outdoors, including at fire pits).

At this time, and on the Easter holiday, we ask you to stay safe at home with your immediate family and gather remotely by phone or social media with your loved ones.  This is the best way to actively help save lives. CAFN strongly recommends you enjoy outdoors activities close to home instead of traveling to cabins and remote locations.

The Chief Medical Officer has also asked Yukoners not to travel in and out of Yukon’s rural communities, except to provide essential services. 

If you still choose to go to your seasonal cabins and wilderness locations, please:

  • Ensure you isolate with your household members at your cabin.
  • Do not gather with anyone outside your household. 
  • Ensure you practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
  • Go fully prepared to be independent.  Bring your own water and all your supplies.  Services are not available in our seasonal communities and it is not safe to go to your neighbor’s for suppliesor water.

We know this is difficult, especially this coming Easter weekend.  Our places and the land are an important part of our culture and identity, but right now the safety of our communities and Citizens is our top priority.

Citizens will continue to receive essential services. CAFN government offices and public buildings under Champagne and Aishihik First Nations authority will remain closed to the public until further notice.  All CAFN staff are directed to work from home, except those providing essential services.

Each one of us has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Prevention is the only medical treatment for COVID-19 at this time.  What we do now will help save lives.  How we act today will affect how soon we can resume our normal lives. For now, this is the new normal. 

CAFN will not tolerate drinking and parties with unsafe behaviour in our communities because it could cause spread of the disease.  If you see parties and risky behaviour happening in your community, please phone the RCMP and report it.  

To all our Dän Shawthän (good CAFN people) in the Yukon and beyond, now is the time for every one of us to act to protect ourselves and others.  This is a difficult time and how you behave sets an example for others.  This is dän k’e – our way.

Shäw nithän.

For more information

Amy McKinnon, Strategic Communications Manager
(867) 332-1973, almckinnon@cafn.ca

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