MONTREAL -- Members of the Kahnawake community are figuring out how to best support each other while still respecting physical distancing measures.

Several members of the community have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including several healthcare workers. Leaders responded by forming a COVID-19 task force, comprised of members of the peacekeepers, healthcare providers and other parts of the community.

“It's something that's here within our community and it made people rally that much stronger together to ensure the proper response within our community is done,” said task force member Lloyd Phillips.

The task force hosts daily Facebook Live events to provide updates from a trusted source.


Lisa Westaway, director of the Kateri Memorial Hospital, said resources have been allocated to detect and treat cases of the virus within Kahnawake.

“Kahnawake can have their own site, they can come to a private location,” she said. “They can stay in the territory which is what we're asking them to do.”

None of Kahnawake's COVID-19 cases have yet proved life-threatening. Lloyd said residents have respect physical distancing policies, including shutting down businesses.

“They have complied,” he said. “What we're actually having is a problem now with people from outside the community still insisting on trying to get here to buy cigarettes. I'll say it again, the cigarette stores in the community are closed, so don't bother trying.”

With businesses closed and elders self-isolating, a food distribution centre has been set up to ensure nobody is going hungry.

|We've seen that in the form of food donations as well as monetary donations and even coming forward and volunteering their time,” said Ashlan Phillips of Kahnawake Shakotiia'takehnhas Community Services. “We do take care of our own and we take care of our elders, more importantly.”