Indigenous Led Responses to Intersecting Pandemics
Pandemic experiences are not new to Indigenous Peoples of North America; introducing and spreading infectious disease was a strategy of colonizing nations to claim lands and resources without resistance. CAAN – Communities, Alliances, and Networks are leaders in responding to HIV and AIDS in Indigenous communities in Canada with a mandate to lead and support research relevant to Indigenous organizations and communities impacted by HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), tuberculosis (TB) and other co-infections. We witness Indigenous Peoples navigating ongoing and layered syndemics every day. For this reason, CAAN’s research mandate is strengths-based, culturally safe, and grounded in Indigenous knowledges and solutions. CAAN’s research with Indigenous-led front-line service organizations responding to HIV, HCV, and TB lays a foundation to sustain a response to the continually evolving COVID‑19 situation and its consequences for intersecting pandemics. We know the experiences of working through other ‘demics’ informs organizational and personal responses to COVID‑19 and we aim to understand how to identifying practices and processes others may find useful as well as to provide space for reflection and integration of the full experience, which may include layers of tragedy and grief. This is the lived experience of front-line work even without a global pandemic; we intend to bring to the fore what can be learned from the people serving in these contexts every day in support of the organizations and to highlight the staff wisdom. The research will support identifying, implementing, and sharing culturally safe, Indigenous community-led solutions to address the COVID‑19 pandemic and its consequences by addressing the research areas of culturally safe covid-19 prevention, preparedness, response (and recovery) for indigenous peoples. Our research is supported by Indigenous-led front-line organizations in Halifax, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Regina, and Red Deer.