As the Covid-19 outbreak hits Canada the Canadian government is taking strong measures in order to slow the spread of the virus and to protect the health of Canadian citizens. But what does this look like for the Indigenous community in Canada. Well to begin with, the 1.4 million indigenous people in Canada have higher levels of poverty and a lower life expectancy compared to other Canadians. Many indigenous peoples live in homes which need major repairs and are overcrowded accounting for dangerous and unhealthy living conditions. Due to their difficult living conditions the communities are at heightened risk amidst this outbreak.
The Canadian government is advising the nation to wash their hands thoroughly and to self isolate in order to stay safe from the virus and slow down the spread of Covid-19 in Canada. But this does not apply to many indigenous communities living on remote reserves with minimal to no access to running water as well as overcrowded living conditions which do not allow for self isolation.
During this time, it is crucial that basic supplies such as hand sanitizers are made available for the communities advised byAlvin Fiddler, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in Ontario.
Many Indigenous communities are choosing to close their borders to outsiders which means that only essential travellers and emergency personnel are allowed inside the community. At this time of difficulty, the communities are using self isolation to stay strong. But many Indigenous communities residing on remote reserves experience poor health treatments making them especially vulnerable during this outbreak.
The Canadian government has announced a $305-million fund to aid the indigenous communities in combating the virus. The country’s capital, Ottawa is supplying remote communities with “temporary portable structures” in order to facilitate disease screenings in places where there are housing shortages.
Though the government has announced a relief package for the indigenous community it is important to consider that details on how these funds will reach the community have not been revealed.
By: Akanksha Sharma
CORIA Canada First Generation (2017-2018)