Yukon First Nations help citizens make ends meet during COVID-19 pandemic
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations set up a citizens assistance fund
Yukon First Nation governments are ensuring their citizens have some financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, for example, have set up a citizens assistance fund.
Last week, the federal government announced a $305-million Indigenous support fund to help First Nation communities across Canada deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Chief Steve Smith said his First Nations' COVID-19 assistance policy offers $500 to families or $250 to a single person.
"It's hoped they use this money to stockpile food," Smith said.
Smith said non-perishable food will be made available to citizens if the need arises.
"We have a number of hunters going out. We have a lot of bison, we have fish that has been already stockpiled and frozen. We got a moose last week that is frozen and processed and in storage," he said.
Smith said the federal aid will assist the First Nation in managing the supports to its citizens, especially those most vulnerable in this time of crisis.
"We doubled our income assistance for basic needs, of course, we also doubled up our elder's payment for the month of April."
Steve Smith said Champagne and Aishihik First Nations are committed to assisting citizens, and to being financially prudent, because no one knows how long the pandemic will last.
Chief Simon Mervyn of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun says his First Nation is also providing financial assistance to its members.
"We are deeply concerned about our citizens throughout Canada, and we know they are going to be affected with their home life, meeting their requirements or their financial issues," said Mervyn.
He says the First Nation will also hunt and fish to help out elders and the vulnerable.
The Kwanlin Dün First Nation administration is making a $600 payment to citizens over 19 years of age. Other measures it's taking include waiving the rent for homes owned by the First Nation.