Hotıì ts’eeda and the GNWT are partnering on an informational campaign to try and answer questions Indigenous elders may have about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual interview series titled “Information Is Medicine”, features interviews with Indigenous knowledge holders, answering questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know that Indigenous people in NWT communities would like to hear from their own knowledge holders about the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. John B. Zoe, Chairperson of Hotıì ts’eeda said in a statement. “We feel we can play a role in translating COVID-19 information and public health recommendations into concepts and language that is culturally safe and relevant for the Indigenous people and communities of the NWT.”
“This can help people make good decisions for their own health and wellness.”
Dr. Kami Kandola, NWT’s Chief Public Health Officer said one of the biggest concerns that had been brought up during meetings with Indigenous governments while developing the COVID-19 vaccine plan was communicating information about the vaccine in Indigenous languages.
“One common theme was they are asking that we provide information on the vaccine in Indigenous languages or in a manner that they can communicate to elders, so they can have informed consent before they receive the vaccine,” Kandola said.
Indigenous groups are one of the vulnerable populations — because they often have limited and unreliable access to healthcare — who are likely to get the vaccine first. Indigenous elders are particularly vulnerable, because the COVID-19 virus causes more severe health problems in older populations.
Kandola said special efforts were being made to communicate to Indigenous people information about the virus, so they can make an informed decision.
Audio translations of the interviews into all Indigenous languages of the NWT are planned and will be developed and posted to the Hotıì ts’eeda website as they become available.
The series features artwork by Dehcho Dene artist Melaw Nakehk’o and drumming music by the Délı̨nę Drummers.