Kloshe Tillicum: Creating trustworthy and culturally meaningful public health guidance to address COVID‑19 in Indigenous communities
Trust between public health authorities and the public is required to successfully reduce the impacts of COVID‑19 and to slow the epidemic. Participation in contact tracing activities, compliance with physical distancing measures, and uptake of vaccines all depend on this trust. The COVID‑19 pandemic has unfortunately revealed a concerning trend, with a gap in trust between many Indigenous communities and public health authorities. Kloshe Tillicum means “good relations” in Chinook Jargon. The rapid research we propose builds on longstanding relations between our team-the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)’s Chee Mamuk program-and numerous Indigenous communities through BC, as well as a provincial survey examining misinformation related to COVID‑19 (N=3,073 respondents, April 2020). In conversation with First Nations partners of Chee Mamuk, we have heard members of some communities express confusion over discrepancies in COVID-19-related messages they receive from different levels of government and different sources (media, social media, word-of-mouth, public health, etc.). Meanwhile, other communities have told of missed opportunities for meaningful Indigenous community involvement in public health-directed contact tracing efforts. This rapid knowledge synthesis, working with Indigenous communities throughout BC and the BCCDC, will assess community-led strategies to build trust with regard to the following COVID‑19 related activities: testing, contact tracing, social/physical distancing, and vaccination. We will meet this objective through Indigenous and community-led methodologies that have been established and used by our team for many years. Through activities-based focus groups, we will identify culturally meaningful ways to engage communities in COVID‑19 prevention measures.