Across Canada as the rate of new COVID-19 infections has been steadily decreasing among the overall population, the cases of COVID-19 are rising in Indigenous communities.
According to Canada Public Health and Indigenous Services data, Indigenous communities currently have about 8 percent of the country’s active COVID-19 cases, despite accounting for about 5 percent of the total population.
While Ontario and Quebec had been the epicentre of the outbreaks in Canada, people in First Nations are being hit the hardest in Western Canada, where they can make up half the number of hospitalizations in some provinces.
We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre for the development of oral Cree messages for increasing and enhancing understanding of COVID-19 prevention protocols, testing, precautions, and social distancing.
In addition to social and economic barriers impacting the health of First Nations communities, messaging around COVID-19 has primarily been developed and delivered in literature format which has had limited impact at the community level, in particular with groups that have lower literacy levels and have Cree as a first language. Particularly Elders and knowledge holders who are critical influencers of healthier choices and practices and messaging. Oral knowledge transfer through key messaging remains a very powerful way to influence and get critical messages out to multiple groups in a fast, efficient and consistent way.
Through CMF’s Stop the Gaps Campaign, the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre will be implementing the Wellbeing and Safety Cree Audio and Video Messages Project in 37 of 47 communities in Alberta who are Cree speaking.
A mix of virtual and in person engagement sessions with Cree speaking Knowledge holders will be developed. The engagement sessions will include messaging around COVID-19 transmission, risks, prevention and self-care.
The virus anywhere can affect us all everywhere. Working together we can stop the spread.