Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Health Director Dean Wilson works at the health department building on the reserve. (Submitted photo)

False complaint about non-compliance of COVID-19 rules prompts warning from First Nation authority

‘Making a malicious, false complaint is a serious matter’

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation’s Health Director Dean Wilson is reminding residents not to jump to conclusions and to do their homework before making any social distancing complaints.

“On April 24, at the very end of the day, I received an email from the First Nations Health Authority,” stated Wilson, who went on to explain that they were passing on a complaint that the Vancouver Island Health Authority had received about non-compliance with regards to public health orders, specifically prohibiting large gatherings of people.

The health authority stated that a complainant, who is a resident of Port Hardy, reported that there was a wedding held recently on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation land with over 150 people attending from various local bands.

Wilson stressed the Port Hardy resident’s wedding complaint was emphatically false. There was no wedding and there was not 150 people from various bands attending the reserve at any time.

“Our on-reserve school is presently doing distance learning online, just like all the schools in the province, and in order to show support for the students who are missing school, the school organized a vehicle parade,” stated Wilson, adding that it was similar to what people are doing these days “for birthday parties and the 7:00 p.m. shoutout for essential service workers. The intention was to do something in that same mode of thought, and in the same mode of showing that appreciation, so they organized a parade with staff in their own vehicles who were abiding by the physical distancing rules, and they drove through the communities honking their horns.”

Wilson noted there were a total of 25 vehicles in the parade. “It was pretty big and they were honking horns and some of the vehicles had balloons on them, so my initial thought is that someone has mistaken this supportive parade for students as the celebratory honking that sometimes takes place after a wedding — I have no idea why this person would have thought there were 150 people gathering from other communities, because the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation has been extremely cautious in dealing with COVID-19. We have 24 hour security in place that are logging people coming and going, and council has passed a bylaw to be able to provide support services and educate the community and enforce the standards the community has put in place to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.”

Wilson stated he thinks the complainant had jumped to conclusions without actually checking out the situation, and it unfortunately has caused rumours to spread, which he wants to shut down. “We take seriously the recommendations from Dr. Bonnie Henry, and we are concerned our neighbours in Port Hardy may have mistaken the event, and we want to be clear with them that it was in no way a gathering that would have breached Dr. Henry’s orders.”

He added he wanted people to know that “making a report like this is a serious event, and people who are breaching orders can be subject to massive fines, and we take that seriously — Making a malicious, false complaint is a serious matter.”


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop donation bin runneth over

Volunteers now working toward a reopening soon with protocols in place

Man found dead in his tent at Chemainus homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Simpson staying sharp for the baseball call

Pirates’ Chemainus player scraps initial plans for Houghton College in New York

CBIA ad campaign a business booster

Great to learn more about the people serving the community

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read