Nak’azdli Whut’en community closure extended for two-weeks

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In her last update before Christmas break, Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief Aileen Prince said another member was being airlifted to hospital due to COVID-19.

“There are so many cases in our community,” Prince said Dec. 18, pleading people to stay home and not allow visitors.

“It’s getting scarier the more this is happening.”

Located near Fort St. James, the Indigenous community has been recently experiencing an increase in apparent positive coronavirus cases. Previously fewer than 20 meals were being delivered to those in isolation, and Prince said it is now more than 40.

“We are going back up again because people are not as vigilant as they were in the beginning when this started.”

With Christmas fast approaching, Prince admitted Dec. 25 would be difficult.

The community closure will be extended for 14-days and patrols will be conducted throughout the holidays.

“If you’re not from this community, we’re asking you to please don’t come visiting,” she said.

“It’s not that we’re not hospitable. We really want this to flatten —we want this to be gone when the holidays are over.”

Prince thanked Nak’azdli Whut’en children and youth for helping to protect the community, and said she knows it is difficult for them not to be out and about with their friends.

She reminded everyone of the available mental health supports, and to check in with one another via phone or online platforms such as Facebook or Zoom.

“Make sure you take care of your mental health,” she said.

“That is something that is going to help you get through this.”

Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune