Indigenous communities and COVID-19: The virus may not discriminate, but responses to it do – The Globe and Mail

Gina Starblanket is Cree/Saulteaux and a member of the Star Blanket Cree Nation, and is an assistant political science professor at the University of Calgary. Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation), and is an assistant professor of Indigenous literature at the University of British Columbia. Their book, Storying Violence: Unravelling Colonial Narratives in the Stanley Trial, will be released later this year.

With growing instances of community transmission across Canada, Indigenous people are bracing themselves for the eventuality of COVID-19 spreading more widely beyond major urban centres. We fear that when the virus peaks, our nations and leadership may have exceeded their already low capacity to ensure the health and well-being of their membership.

For Indigenous people in Canada, matters of disease, sickness and famine are not unprecedented. Hindsight tells us that we cannot simply sit by and trust that Canada will provide adequate levels of support and aid. Federal and provincial government efforts to address the proliferation of disease within Indigenous communities are not just inadequate, but appalling.

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