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Reporters Roundtable: From Saskatchewan to Montana

On today's Reporters' Roundtable Priscilla Wolf and Bernie Azure are updating us on the stories they're covering in Canada's rural areas as well as in and around the Flathead Indian reservation in Montana

It's Friday and you know what that means. It's time for our Reporters' Roundtable!

Today we're joined by Priscilla Wolf. She's a correspondent for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network based in Saskatchewan, Canada.

And also joining the newscast is Bernie Azure, he's the assistant editor for the Char-Koosta News in Pablo Montana. They cover the swath of news in and around the Flathead Indian reservation .

Some quotes from today's show

Priscilla Wolf:

"The province that I'm in, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, if you look at that Canadian map, we're right in the middle. And our province is about the size of Texas, and it's pretty small. There's less than 2 million people here, and we haven't been hit as hard as the rest of the provinces or some of the provinces we're neighboring. We're averaging about 230 COVID cases a day here in the province. And we do have over 70 First Nations here in our province. And some of them are very Northern and when COVID hits there, it really affects our communities. And one case can turn into a hundred within a couple of weeks."

"I'm going to have to do a follow-up with them. I know that there was a lot of bottled water that was taken to the community. They were trying to fix their water treatment plant. And the thing about Fond-Du-Lac is where I am right now, which is the middle of Saskatchewan. So let's say I'm here, they're way up here. So there are about 850 kilometers from us, which would be also a fly-in community. So they're very remote. They're very isolated and to not have running water when they have COVID in the community is very dangerous, especially for the elderly people. So I will definitely be doing a follow-up but at the moment they have been talking to our government about getting help about getting the water treatment plant up and running."

"They did call a state of emergency about the beginning of November. And it wasn't that long that it wasn't running, but it hasn't been running properly for a little bit. And it sounds like it's also old as well. We do have a lot of communities across the country that have the same kind of issues. The problem is it's COVID, and this is very isolated and up North. So it's hard to fix during this time."

Bernie Azure:

"Just like everywhere else, the case rates have shot up dramatically lately. Everything was on the down load till about the 4th of July and everybody got out and that gave the first uptick. And then just within the last month, it's just really shot up terribly. And the tribes have, have had a very good COVID response set up and funding and related to that. And they really on top of this thing, big time from my perspective"

"In May, they had workers who could work out of home and just furloughed or the ones that couldn't but they were kept paid and stuff and they called everybody back about the end of July or August, excuse me, the first part of August. And everybody went back, the essential workers were always there, but then the other folks went back then. And that's when also the another uptick started about then."

"Well, some of the schools do the 50/50 kind of thing where they do have the classes two days in school and then the two days out of school, then the other half, they vice versa that. But what with the uptick they've had they’ve had momentary shut downs, like five or six days, and then they come back to full school. Also, everyone has a choice of homeschool and a lot of people take advantage of that."

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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