The Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S) declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization, which represents roughly 75,000 Métis people in Saskatchewan, has already enacted emergency measures to secure more personal protection equipment and provide financial assistance in large urban areas. They’ve also coordinating check points and perimeter controls in rural and remote communities.
The MN-S credited strong partnerships with private stakeholders and the federal government for helping put those measures in place. Despite those efforts, MN-S leaders say they need outside help.
“The preventative measures taken by the MN-S alone cannot meet the needs of the province’s 75,000 Métis citizens,” reads a press release issued on Saturday. “This state of emergency is required to urge action and further collaboration between all levels of government to respond to the unique challenges facing Métis people in urban centres and remote and northern communities.”
The MN-S wants to see better communication regarding confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 cases, and more cooperation when delivering food and critical services. They’d also like to see more restrictions on non-essential travel in the north to protect communities from unmonitored visitors.
“Without stronger measures, northern and remote Métis communities are at risk of further spread of the virus without adequate critical medical services or infrastructure,” the press release reads. “The MN-S is committed to protecting and advocating for its citizens as this deadly pandemic continues to unfold. Until the essential and lifesaving needs of Métis peoples are properly met, MN-S must declare a province-wide state of emergency on behalf of its citizens.”