The Impact Of COVID-19 On Indigenous Cultural Continuity

The COVID-19 pandemic could be the single greatest threat in this generation to the continuity of Indigenous cultures and preservation of languages. The danger of infection has put on hold countless cultural activities and collective ceremonies around the world. Indigenous peoples in both urban and rural locals account today for over 476 million individuals spread across 90 countries, accounting for 6.2% of the global population, according to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. “Indigenous communities are nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty, and thus more prone to infectious diseases. Many indigenous communities are already suffering from malnutrition and immune-suppressive conditions, which can increase susceptibility to infectious diseases.” [1]  Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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Dr Bonnie Henry, Elders, Reconciliation, and COVID-19

When Dr Bonnie Henry announced the death of an Elder from Alert Bay, I was struck by her compassion, her understanding of the enormity of the immediate and long term loss to the Elder’s family and her community, the loss to the greater society, and the deep emotion in her voice. 

"Included in the deaths in the last 24 hours, is our first death in one of B.C.’s First Nations communities. Along with the many lives we have lost to COVID-19, this is a tragedy that’s beyond just us. This is a tragedy for all of us. Our Elders, in particular, in our First Nations communities are culture and history keepers.

When they become ill and when they die, we all lose and I want you to know that we feel that collective loss today. My thoughts are with her family and her entire community as I recognize the tragic impact this has on all of them.

It is particularly a challenging time to not be able to come together physically, in the normal way that we would, to respect the customs that we have in communities at this time and my condolences and my heart goes out to this community and to the family.” 

You can listen to Dr Henry by clicking this link; her above comments are in the first 100 seconds. 

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Suggestions for Helping Vulnerable and Remote Indigenous Communities

Amidst all the dire news about the trajectory of global and local COVID-19 case numbers and mortality, hoarding of necessities, fights in grocery stores it was a joy to receive a question from a follower asking how they could help remote or vulnerable Indigenous communities. 

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A Brief Look at Indian Hospitals in Canada

We would like to acknowledge that this article was framed from the research and writing of authors Maureen Lux (Separate Beds A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s - 1980s) and Gary Geddes (Medicine Unbundled A Journey Through the Minefields of Indigenous Health Care).

In this article we use 'Indian' as that was the term used at the time. For information on appropriate terminology, download our free ebook “Indigenous Peoples: A Guide to Terminology.

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Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program

Every so often a shining example of recognizing an opportunity to reach out and work with an Aboriginal community for the betterment of all comes along that really tugs our heartstrings. This is the story of how a bunch of kids scrabbled together some tools and lumber and built their own mountain bike park all on their own, and in doing so launched the impetus for a visiting community planning consultant, Patrick Lucas, to create the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Biking Program (AYMBP). The Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program is a non-profit, volunteer driven program to assist and support Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking and this is how it all began.

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Aboriginal Lateral Violence in the Workplace

When working closely with an Aboriginal community there are many factors and layers of complexities to be considered, some of which are very apparent and distinct, while others are not.

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First Nations Health Authority Boldly Goes Where None has Gone Before

medical_icon-1The First Nation Health Authority (FNHA) in BC has taken over control of all Health Canada health programs and services for the 203 First Nations in the province. The First Nations Health Authority will be responsible for planning, management, service delivery, and funding of health programs previously provided by Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Branch B.C. Region. A first in Canada, the Agreement sees the federal government hand over the annual budget of $377.8 million, while the BC government will contribute $83.5 million over nine years.

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First Nations Health Authority: A new era of First Nations health in British Columbia

by Trevor Kehoe

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9 Tips for a Culturally Competent Environment for Indigenous Patients


Fixing the way in which healthcare is delivered to Indigenous people is a massive, complex undertaking on the national scale. However, on the smaller scale, simple things can be done at the first point of contact, and throughout the care organization that will make a world of difference to not only the Indigenous patient but also to the health care practitioners. The first step in fixing the system is to create a culturally competent environment for Indigenous patients.

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Cultural Competency in Indigenous Health Care

What is a culturally competent health care environment? It is an environment in which Indigenous people feel culturally safe.............they are treated with respect, compassion, and cultural understanding. A culturally incompetent health care environment is one in which Indigenous people encounter racism, stereotyping, and disrespect both personally and culturally.

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