I am so glad that we are now in a different year, at least we can start new again. Yes, we are still dealing with the COVID19 virus Pandemic and it feels like there is no end.  One thing I have learned is that if I hope, little miracles begin to show themselves and I say to myself, ok…we can get through this. I hope that during times of isolation that we were able to get closer to what is important to us, that our relationships with them are on the mend and we see their talents, skills, and knowledge which shows a bright future ahead of us.

 

As you know there is a vaccine coming to our Nation and your role is to increase your knowledge of it and make your decision.  Remember we have had vaccines for years, some we have every few years, every year and some we must retake such as the ‘Tetanus’ shot especially when we step on something like a rusty nail and when a dog bites us, we must take a rabies shot.  So, most vaccines help us.  We have just sent for the special cooling fridge for the vaccine.  We hope to have the vaccine by the second week of February 2021, so you have time to make your decision especially with the Elders as they are first. As with any vaccine there is reaction and so we will have to expect that. 

 

Our year in review dealt primarily with COVID and trying to keep our Elders safe and we kept it out of our community from March to November and that was with the help of the community. Somehow, we thought we were immune and then on November 23, 2020, it happened. Then we experienced the beginning of our battle with the virus.  We contained it till December 2020 then it became uncontrollable, a cause for concern.  It was of such concern the Nation Leaders put their Election on hold for 3-6 months to ensure safety of their membership.  Yes, we can do better, we can always do better, and it helps when a few encouraging words build our people up. At the end of the day, it is the kindness that prevails and that people we looked after got what they needed to get through their virus episode.

 

Our year also showed us that if we follow rules, as inconvenient they are (wearing face masks, washing our hands, staying isolated, staying in the house for hours on end…etc.), we reduced the risk to our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and to the vulnerable.  Yes, there are those who posed a risk to our families, and you helped by trying to keep your family members at home. Thank yourself, thank those who were trying to reduce the risks and keep us healthy. Lessons learned.

 

In the meantime, work continued, funding still needed to be applied for, payroll still needed to be processed, houses still need to be built, roads still needed to be plowed, sewers still needed to be pumped out, plumbing needs needed to be dealt with, ceremonies unceasing, and government still needed to govern. Throughout the pandemic there were so many employees who worked to keep things running to make life easier, not to cause more stress on the people trying to heal or stay isolated.  I thank them for their dedication. 

 

As the year progressed and going forward the Nation Leaders in their various capacities of Board of Directors created new partnerships, addressing the abandoned wells, bought a hotel, tacking their legal disputes head on and addressing the Business/Investment Centre structure.  We are understanding how important structure, policies, minutes, agendas, and the rules of operation are to the operations of our Nation and its businesses.  We are so fortunate to have Leadership who value these structures and continue to learn from them and learn new ways of doing business. 

 

I realize that questions arise, and I am so glad we question our way of governorship, business, and our way of developing as those are valuable to increasing the knowledge of the community and keeping leadership mindful of their accountability and their due diligence. As their business and governorship roles and duties increase, the Leadership count on our membership to do their part by increasing their knowledge of their businesses by preparing themselves to do their due diligence.  They need help too. As a band member, you can help by increasing your employability to be educated not only in the mainstream system but our language, our cultural ways, and our laws.  Our business and governing knowledge increasingly dictate the need to become more educated in the ways of doing businesses such as learning the values: of money, of marketing, of customer service, of legal responsibility, of laws and our laws and of hard work.  There is nothing we cannot do when we do it together!

 

Submitted by Beatrice Carpentier, O’Chiese Band Manager