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Indigenous leaders call for stricter restrictions and curfew to fight COVID-19

Chief Archie Waquan speaks at a press conference in Edmonton on October 11, 2018. Northern Alberta Indigenous leaders warn watering down the federal government's proposed environmental assessment law will only doom energy projects to more years of court wrangling. As they prepared to speak to a Senate committee about Bill C-69 Wednesday in Fort McMurray, Alta., Treaty 8 chiefs said criticism of the act from Alberta and industry was "riddled with errors." The chiefs, who represent bands in the oilsands region, said the current system is rigged against them and has clogged the courts with constutional lawsuits. "Our intent with Bill C-69 is to ensure that it is robust enough to allow First Nations across Canada to have their rights considered without having to resort to courts," said Chief Archie Waquan of the Mikisew Cree First Nation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

FORT MCMURRAY (660NEWS) — First Nations and Metis leaders in northern Alberta are calling for stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter to Premier Jason Kenney, the group urges the government change its approach to fighting the pandemic.

The letter, signed by 11 Indigenous communities from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) said provincial restrictions are ineffective and that shows in rapidly growing case counts.

The letter goes on to say that “literally anything would be better than what Kenney has been doing — as the region is losing the battle with COVID-19.”

They say since the start of the pandemic they’ve had to take measures into their own hands by setting up check-points or implementing curfews in order to protect their communities.

The letter includes recommendations and requests such as implementing a community wide curfew and establishing and staffing a field hospital to deal with the shortage of beds and healthcare workers.