Moose Deer Point residents taking COVID seriously: administrator

·3 min read

The band administrator for the Moose Deer Point Indigenous Territory says, to the best of her knowledge, not a single COVID-19 case has been diagnosed among the people she represents.

Colette Isaac says she believes that’s because residents are cognizant of the seriousness of the global pandemic and are following protocols to avoid the virus laid out by health and government officials.

“We’ve taken a lot of initiative. We have followed the provincial lead. We did a lot of things to keep our people safe,” Isaac said. “We’ve sent a lot of information out to our members. We encourage our members to be aware of the reasons the protocols where put in place and risks involved if they are not followed.”

Isaac said they have held general community meetings where the public was invited to attend to get health and protocol updates. She added that chairs were set up at the local recreation centre, but they kept them and the participants about 10 feet apart. Masks and hand sanitizer were made available, and some presenters appeared via video as opposed to attending in person.

“Everybody who showed up understood what we were trying to do. They took our concerns seriously, and there was no negative feedback.”

Isaac said Moose Deer Point has not put in place any restrictions on travelling into the territory as some Indigenous territories in Canada have. She does not see the need for any such restriction at this time.

She said the territory has seen an appropriate level of help from governments during the pandemic.

“We have been able to leverage both the federal and provincial dollars with our own resources and the support has been adequate to date,” she said. “We have concerns, however, that if something unexpected were to come up, we could be a little bit challenged. But that’s why we are being so careful.

Isaac did not have specific dollar amounts spent by the territory during the pandemic, nor could she say exactly how much funding has been received from both the provincial and federal governments to help cope with the virus.

Isaac says there are homes on the territory that are overcrowded, adding that adequate housing for Indigenous people remains a concern at Moose Deer Point and across Canada for that matter.

Concerns have been expressed by Indigenous leaders that overcrowded homes could be a contributing factor when it comes to the spread of the Coronavirus.

“We don’t have the same access to resources that a municipality might have. We don’t have, for instance, the same ability to get mortgages or leverage funds to make sure we have an adequate number of houses here,” she said. “Overall, overcrowded homes has not been a big issue on the Moose Deer Point Territory, certainly not the issue it has been for some of our northern neighbours.”

Isaac is encouraging members to continue to follow the protocols and stay safe, noting that we are not out of the woods yet in terms of the global pandemic.

Moose Deer Point is located along Twelve Mile Bay in the District Municipality of Muskoka.

John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com