The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health and Northern Health have jointly launched a short animated video to draw attention to the ongoing issue of stigmatization experienced by Indigenous people in the health care system.
The video’s executive producer is Dr. Margo Greenwood, Vice President of Indigenous Health, Northern Health, and Academic Leader for the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health.
“As the video illustrates, the combination of pandemics and stigma is an old story for Indigenous people,” Greenwood said. “But the pain is always new. And the ill effects can last for generations unless we all, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, support each other to take positive healing action. Everyone should feel safe and supported in their communities.”
The video is narrated by physician and actor Dr. Evan Adams (Tlesla II), Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada.
“Healing starts with empathy,” Adams said. “Each of us can step up to address stigma and discrimination. Together we can put an end to historic patterns of prejudice and exclusion.”
British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has shown that Indigenous communities continue to carry a disproportionate burden of stigma and discrimination in our health care system.
“We must continue to promote education and cultural sensitivity to address this ongoing challenge,” she said.
It is time to recognize and treat racism directed at Indigenous people as a health crisis, Dr. Greenwood says, referencing the recent report In Plain Sight by Dr. Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond that highlights discrimination as a painful reality for both Indigenous people seeking health care and Indigenous health care workers in British Columbia. This new video is an important resource to support urgently needed dialogue and action to change this situation.
Healing in Pandemic Times features animation by Joanne Gervais and music by Renae Morriseau and M’Girl.