Originally published in the May 15, 2020 edition of Pikwakanagan Tibadjumowin.
Dear members of The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation,
As the Province of Ontario opens select businesses with restrictions and plans for their first phase of reopening the economy, the First Nation remains as we were when the State of Emergency was called on March 31.
There are so many different ideas, plans and actions to consider in deciding how to deal with COVID-19 in all areas of the world. Much of the wisdom for survival in pandemic situations have been predetermined by our ancestors. It is vitally important that we all work together to chart a course of action that will honor ancestral wisdom and keep our economy healthy and therefore ourselves and the earth as well. The vulnerabilities, inequalities and injustices that challenged us before COVID-19 are now even more noticeable and there are important lessons to be learned here that will hopefully outlast the virus.
The next two weeks, after some restrictions are eased in other areas, will show us the path forward for Pikwakanagan. While we remain grateful and thankful that COVID-19 has not yet reached our community, death certainly has. In our small community, the passing of a relative is felt by everyone. We mourn the passing of Kathleen Commanda, Rita Cooke, Elizabeth Grootenboer, Mary Amikons, Sydney Amikons, and William Gordon Commanda.
While we mourn these losses, I once again ask that you consider the value of a life. It is my feeling that economics include the care and concern for our most vulnerable and especially in a small community, everyone’s contribution to the economy is critical. The origin of the word economy is in the Greek word for manager of the home, oikonomos. Imagine our home without someone you hold dear. Economy is not money, it is our people and the land, our home; the health, safety, security and sustainability of which must be fiercely protected.
We will continue to watch and listen to the developments worldwide and the local wisdom to make the best decisions we can in Pikwakanagan.
Wendy Jocko, Chief