New video calls for renewed action through the pandemic and beyond to end stigma against Indigenous peoples
The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health and Northern Health BC have jointly launched a short animated video to draw attention to the ongoing issue of stigmatization experienced by Indigenous people in the health care system. Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID -19 is available for public view and educational use on the websites of both organizations at bit.ly/38JD7LL and bit.ly/2XSZW9T.
The video’s executive producer is Dr. Margo Greenwood, Vice President of Indigenous Health, Northern Health, and Academic Leader for the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health. Greenwood notes, “As the video illustrates, the combination of pandemics and stigma is an old story for Indigenous people. But the pain is always new. And the ill effects can last for generations unless we all, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, support each other to take positive healing action. Everyone should feel safe and supported in their communities.”
The video is narrated by physician and actor Dr. Evan Adams (Tlesla II), Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada. Adams says, “Healing starts with empathy. Each of us can step up to address stigma and discrimination. Together we can put an end to historic patterns of prejudice and exclusion.”
British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says, “COVID-19 has shown us that Indigenous communities continue to carry a disproportionate burden of stigma and discrimination in our health care system. We must continue to promote education and cultural sensitivity to address this ongoing challenge.”
It is time to recognize and treat racism directed at Indigenous people as a health crisis, Dr. Greenwood says, referencing the recent report In Plain Sight by Dr. Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond that highlights discrimination as a painful reality for both Indigenous people seeking health care and Indigenous health care workers in British Columbia. This new video is an important resource to support urgently needed dialogue and action to change this situation.
Healing in Pandemic Times features animation by Joanne Gervais and music by Renae Morriseau and M’Girl. —