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Healing in pandemic times: Indigenous peoples, stigma, and COVID-19


Drawing of people in a circle, standing on different coloured dots, connected by a beaded rope
Together, everyone can keep the circle strong.

Indigenous Health, Northern Health, and the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) present this short animated video addressing the ongoing issue of stigmatization experienced by Indigenous Peoples in the health care system.

Healing in pandemic times: Indigenous peoples, stigma, and COVID-19 is intended for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences. The video is available to watch on the Indigenous Health website.

The video was executive produced by Dr. Margo Greenwood, VP Indigenous Health, NH and Academic Leader for the NCCIH.

“As the video illustrates, the combination of pandemics and stigma is an old story for Indigenous people, but the pain is always new,” says Dr. Greenwood. “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 animated video reviews key terms such as stigmatization, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination in an easily understandable way.

The video is narrated by Dr. Evan Adams (Tlesla II) who is both a physician and an actor. Dr. Adams is also Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Public Health, Indigenous Services Canada.

“Healing starts with empathy. Each of us can step up to address stigma and discrimination,” says Dr. Adams. “Together we can put an end to historic patterns of prejudice and exclusion.” 

Speaking in reference to Dr. Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s In Plain Sight report, Dr. Greenwood remarked that it is time to recognize and treat racism directed at Indigenous people as a health crisis. This new video is an important resource to support urgently needed dialogue and action to change this situation.

The In Plain Sight report highlights discrimination as a painful reality for both Indigenous people seeking health care and Indigenous health care workers in British Columbia.

The video has been viewed by BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry who said, “COVID-19 has shown us 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.”

Healing in Pandemic Times features animation by Joanne Gervais and music by Renae Morriseau and M’Girl.