Gigii-bapiimin: Exploring Resilience and The Impacts of COVID‑19 on the Health and Wellbeing of Indigenous People Living with HIV/AIDS in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Very little is currently known about the impacts of COVID‑19 on the physical, sexual, spiritual and mental health of Indigenous people living with HIV/AIDS (IPHA) in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We propose a community-based participatory action research study grounded in an Indigenized ethical space and utilizing etuaptmumk (Two-eyed Seeing) to interweave Indigenous and Western ways of knowing, being, doing and systems approaches to respond to knowledge gaps about the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the health and wellbeing of IPHA in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. We will explore the indirect/wider impacts of the pandemic on the health of IPHA in both provinces (including their access to health and community-based services, ceremony, and land-based activities), and ways to mitigate the impacts of COVID‑19 on IPHA. Our project will strengthen capacity among IPHA and Indigenous-led organizations that serve IPHA. The study is guided by an Elder and Community Guiding Circle made of IPHA from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Knowledge Holders, as well as being culturally grounded within Indigenous philosophies, and ceremony-related elements, including the use of sweat lodges, smudging, pipe ceremony, oral tradition, sharing circles, and land-based healing activities. We will use an Indigenous wholistic theory, storywork methodology and a decolonizing participatory action research approach. We will conduct 14 sharing circles (five IPHA per circle; n=70) and individual interviews with IPHA (n=30) across Manitoba and Saskatchewan to gather stories. We will also interview healthcare/service providers (n=30) and community advocates/leaders (n=20) that work with IPHA. This project will inform services, campaigns and significantly contribute to pandemic research, policy response, and generate recommendations for change to health and social systems. It will also inform pandemic intervention preparedness among Indigenous people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.