April 17, 2020 — The challenges we face today are like no other we have faced in this generation. The pandemic has forced our families into isolation, apart from each other, until the danger has passed. For our people, who draw strength from one another, this is a very difficult time and it is especially so for our Elders many of whom are alone. Our grandparents, great grandparents and ancestors have faced great challenges over time. This is a time to continue our legacy of resilience and strength.
As this terrible disease unfolds across Mother Earth, we ask that you continue to follow the advice of medical specialists who advise us that the best way we can protect those we love and cherish is to maintain physical distance to avoid spreading the virus. Continue following this advice. Our Elders and knowledge keepers, our families, and children are precious. We can’t take any risks that put any of our people in danger.
There are things we can do to bring love and support to one another during this time. Reach out using technology, make a phone call, write a letter, pick up extra supplies when you’re safely shopping and leave it at the home of those who can’t get out. We can maintain connections through these difficult times! Our people are creative and innovative, and we will find ways to bridge the distance and in doing so, we will continue to inspire each other and give each other hope.
How can we help you? Our TEA staff is doing their very best to work with our teachers and families to find ways to keep kids learning at home, and to find happiness while learning at home and safely in their First Nation. We recognize that not everyone has the benefit of having technology in their homes: internet, devices, and training are needed. We will be working to find out what the current state of technology is in each of our Nations, and working hard to find solutions.
For now, we urge you to keep strong, keep healthy, and take care of yourselves and each other.
If you’re able to, please take some time to check out the Treaty Education Alliance website and on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter). If you are able to, please print some of the shareables and get them to families without technology at home. We also encourage you to reach out to our staff to share your good ideas or ask questions about how we can work together to build support and hope for our students who are out of school, our families who are working hard to keep their children learning in the home, and the Elders who may be alone and in need of someone to reach out.
Respectfully submitted, from the member First Nation representatives of the Treaty Education Alliance:
Chief Nathan Pasap (White Bear First Nations), Chair
Chief George Cote (Cote First Nation)
Councillor Holly Geddes (Muskowekwan First Nation)
Councillor Marvin Albert (Kawacatoose First Nation)
Councillor Juanita McArthur (Pheasant Rump First Nation)
On behalf of the Board,
Chief Nathan Pasap