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Health ᒥᔪᐱᒫᑎᓰᐧᐃᓐ

Cree Elder from Mistissini succumbs to COVID-19

BY Dan Isaac May 5, 2020

Mistissini Elder Emma Trapper Longchap passed away in Montreal early this week due to complications caused by the COVID-19 virus. 

Longchap is the first Cree to die in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was our deepest hope that our Cree Nation would be spared the worst consequences of this virus, and all the measures that we have put into place were designed to prevent that occurrence,” wrote Grand Chief Abel Bosum in a statement. “Unfortunately, and despite our best efforts, we have lost a dear Elder.”

Grand Chief Bosum went on to reiterate that the tragedy should serve as a reminder to keep up social distancing protocols in Eeyou Istchee. 

In her May 5 public update, Cree Health Board Chairperson Bella Petawabano revealed two more COVID-19 cases had been confirmed over the weekend, bringing the total to 10 in Eeyou Istchee since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The two new cases were close contacts of the case confirmed on April 27 and had been in self-isolation since returning to their community. 

On a positive note, Petawabano disclosed that two more Cree had recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recovered patients to four. The number of active cases in the Eeyou Istchee remains steady at six.  

“Mrs. Emma Trapper Longchap was one of us,” wrote Bosum. “Now we can only join the family in mourning her passing.”

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Dan Isaac is a Mi'kmaq and Mohawk journalist with a BA in Creative writing from Concordia University. He’s been writing for the Nation since 2016.