Nisg̱a’a Nation President Eva Clayton’s 2nd Address on COVID-19

Aama silkwsax̱s – Good afternoon.

Greetings to the Nisg̱a’a Nation – I offer my condolences to those that have lost loved ones during this COVID-19 pandemic.  No doubt these unprecedented circumstances have made your losses more difficult.  We hope that you find comfort in knowing that the whole Nisg̱a’a Nation has you in thought and prayer.  I also offer my words of comfort to those battling cancer and other illnesses.

The Nisg̱a’a Emergency Preparedness Committee has been working collaboratively through this pandemic.  In an effort to discourage travel and promote social distancing, each Nisg̱a’a Village has distributed essential food and household items. On April 3rd Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government also distributed $32,000 worth of groceries in the four Nisg̱a’a Villages that was delivered by provincial food supplier Sysco. 

The Emergency Preparedness Committee also worked with the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure to install signage along Nisg̱a’a Highway 113 and outside each Nisg̱a’a Village to make it clear that Nisg̱a’a Villages, tourist destinations and recreation sites are closed.

We also applaud the efforts of our Nisg̱a’a Urban Locals in Terrace, Prince Rupert-Port Edward and Vancouver for the work they are doing to provide support to citizens living in their respective urban local service areas.

On March 30 the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that the next two weeks marks a second incubation period for COVID-19 as the number of cases have not peaked yet. Also in her statement Dr Henry asked British Columbians not to travel to smaller communities with the fear of spreading the virus and most rural communities are not equipped for individuals who may have the virus.

In her update yesterday, Dr. Henry reported 63 new confirmed cases in British Columbia – with 23 in the Northern Health Region.  Social distancing is working to flatten the curve – so we must continue!  It is now mandatory, so we must adhere to provincial orders to social distance and self-isolate if we have travelled from major urban centres.


We have received many questions regarding Nisga’a Lisims Government assistance in these difficult times.

On March 30, 2020, Wilp Si'ayuukhl Nisga'a responded to these extraordinary times and circumstances by setting aside an emergency fund to help the Nisga’a Nation respond to the COVID-19 crisis.  The fund will include COVID-19 funding that the Nisga’a Nation will receive from other levels of government, as well as a re-allocation of other resources of Nisga’a Lisims Government.

As part of our COVID19 emergency fund, Nisga’a Lisims Government anticipates receiving over $1.3 million from the Indigenous Community Support Fund that Canada announced as part of its COVID-19 economic relief and assistance package. 

Nisga’a Lisims Government will be able to use these funds for a wide range of COVID-19 related measures.  The Nisga’a Finance Committee has been tasked with developing recommendations for Executive for the use of these funds.

NIsga’a Lisims Government will also be receiving some funding from the Emergency Management Assistance Program specifically for activities to prepare and respond to the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure that we make efficient use of the resources available to us, it will be important for Nisga’a Lisims Government to not duplicate the programs and benefits that will be made available to Nisga’a citizens and Nisga’a businesses by other levels of government. 

It is therefore important that Nisga’a citizens look to and take advantage of those other programs.  Examples include:

  • the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide a benefit of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks for eligible workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which will provide a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks to help businesses keep and return their workers to their payroll. This subsidy will be applied for by employers.
  • the British Columbia Emergency Benefit for Workers, which will provide a one-time $1,000 payment to eligible individuals who lose income because of COVID-19.
  • the British Columbia Rent Supplement, which will provide $500 per month to eligible low- and moderate-income renters who are struggling to pay rent as a result of income loss or income reduction due to COVID-19.

Nisga’a Lisims Government will post a list of federal and provincial programs that may be of assistance to Nisga’a citizens and Nisga’a businesses, including links to where further information on these programs can be obtained.

We will continue to have discussions with Canada and British Columbia regarding other potential sources of funding.  It is an evolving situation.

What can we do to stop the spread? 

STAY HOME – we all must do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the best way we can do this is by social distancing.  Ways to practice social distancing are to

  • Limit activities outside your home
  • If you are out in public, try keep two meters between yourself and others
  • Cough into your elbow or sleeve

WASH YOUR HANDS – follow health official recommendations and wash your hands frequently with hot soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds.  Follow up with hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

SELF-ISOLATE – if you have travelled long distance either by road or air – take the pre-cautionary measure to self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.  The minimum 14 day isolation “resets” every time a member leaves the community.  This can help prevent the spread of infections. Self-isolation is one of the most important activities that lowers the chance of spreading illness to other people, including our Elders and vulnerable.

Nimdii ksi hlinhlantgum̓ ahl g̱ahuwilbim̓, ii nimdii kw’ihl saksgum̓ ahl ligii lip nda. Dim adigwil yoo’osinhl an’unin, dim ii ts’iix-hitgwin, jidaa kw’ihl wilin sbayt gat (ligii six feethl dim luu-sbayt-g̱an̓agwihl dim wil hitgwin) 

We must stay home and limit travel, washing your hands often and practicing social distancing (keeping a certain distance from other people = 2 meters/6 feet)

Please check our site frequently for new information as it becomes available at

Please continue to take care of yourselves and your families.


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