FORT MCMURRAY-The Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC) will be receiving more than $1.3 million in COVID-19 management funding from the federal government.
In an announcement on Monday, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) shared 32 Indigenous organizations who will receive funding through the Indigenous Community Support Fund’s off-reserve and urban stream.
Karla Buffalo, CEO for ATC, said the organization is working on a plan for the funding.
“We will be reviewing grant guidelines in collaboration with communities to ensure that the plans we roll out meet those obligations as well as meet the needs of communities for off-reserve members,” said Buffalo in an interview.
According to the ISC’s website, this stream of the Indigenous Community Support Fund could include aid in food security, mental health support services, homelessness, support for elders and childcare assistance for essential workers.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen incredible action taken by organization supporting First Nation People living off reserve and Indigenous Peoples in urban areas,” said Jim Carr, MP for Winnipeg South Centre, in a Monday release.
“I am humbled by your work and thankful for all that you do.”
Approximately $11.8 million in funding will be given to Indigenous organizations across the province to provide for off-reserve members.
Throughout the pandemic, ATC has been working closely with all of the regional rural communities to monitor COVID-19 management, said Buffalo.
In weekly meetings, communities will share information, resources, and update each other on community strategies unique to each First Nation.
Community-specific strategies have included procedures for anyone that has tested positive for COVID-19, ensuring support within the communities for individuals and families as well as increased security within the community to limit traffic.
“I’ve been really proud of the leadership we have within the region because they’ve all taken it very seriously,” said Buffalo.
Buffalo said Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services have given First Nations in Wood Buffalo positive feedback for their
“They’re really maintaining low numbers within their communities,” said Buffalo. “I think it speaks volumes to their leadership and their ability to be responsive to the changing environment we have to react to every day.”