Using strengths-based Indigenous research methodologies to plan for current and future pandemics and health emergencies: Unpacking the complexity within Indigenous communities responding to displaced climate change refugees in central British Columbia during the COVID‑19 pandemic.
The Tl’etinqox and Qwelminte Secwepemc are experiencing the impacts of colonization and climate change on their land, waterways, foods, and medicines. They demonstrated their resilience to the catastrophic 2017 wildfires in Western Canada and were recognized as leaders in their cultural successes for protecting their land and communities from climate change. The Tl’etinqox and Qwelminte Secwepemc continue to respond to current climate change issues (wildfires, floods, landslides, and the resulting displacement of Indigenous community members from neighbouring Nations). However, the COVID‑19 pandemic and the associated restrictions have exacerbated the impacts of climate change issues on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in these two cultural groups. By using Indigenous research methodologies (IRM) with a strengths-based approach, the proposed research aims to understand (1) the complex interplay between climate change, the COVID‑19 pandemic, gender and intersectional perspectives, and health; (2) how this complexity has impacted Indigenous peoples’ response to climate change refugees or evacuees; and (3) what sustainable community-led solutions might be suitable for the current and future pandemics and health emergencies. This will be done through the direction and engagement of Tl’etinqox and Qwelminte Secwepemc communities. Research capacity-building workshops will ensure that the Tl’etinqox and Qwelminte Secwepemc community members play a leadership role in designing and conducting the research, evaluating the outcomes, and disseminating the research findings in culturally appropriate ways. The communities will control how the information will be used, archived or shared. The Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples (1993), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), and the TRC recommendations (2015) will be honoured.