Leah Stump was elected chief of Nazko First Nation on Dec. 14, 2020. (Photo submitted)

Leah Stump was elected chief of Nazko First Nation on Dec. 14, 2020. (Photo submitted)

Nazko chief hopes to lead by example

Checkpoints around the First Nation look to prevent COVID-19 from entering the vulnerable community

Nazko Chief Leah Stump knows it’s inevitable COVID-19 will eventually invade, but she’s doing everything in her power to prevent it from gaining a foothold.

“It’s not if the virus gets here — its when,” she said.

A by-law went into effect on Tuesday, Jan. 19, preventing visitors from entering Nazko First Nation and limiting gatherings in dwellings there to six.

Stump noted there are exceptions to the by-law, including for essential services, and people living close to Nazko.

“We’re making a safe place for our people,” she said. “Not only for our people, but our neighbours up and down the valley. We want to ensure their safety in our Nazko traditional caretaker territory.”

No COVID-19 cases have been detected in Nazko, with Stump calling the efforts “preventative measures.”

Many communities near 100 Mile House and Williams Lake have went into a form of lockdown, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. An elder in Canim Lake died from to COVID-19 symptoms on Jan. 20.

READ MORE: Canim Lake Band loses Elder due to COVID-19

“We have so many elders in our community, we thought now the virus is coming to Williams Lake and Quesnel and surrounding communities we should get on it, and be proactive about it,” Stump said. “We want to encourage safety protocals that keep all Nazko safe.”

Stump said she was working closely with her husband, who is a councillor at ?Esdilagh First Nation.

“Seeing all the things ?Esdilagh put in for their community, I thought our people need that sense of safety,” she said. “I think my duty as a chief is to protect the community from the virus.”

Checkpoints in Nazko to monitor visitors will be in place starting on Thursday, Jan. 21.

READ MORE: Power outage spoils COVID-19 vaccine at Tl’etinqox

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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