COVID-19: Indigenous resilience, a lever to support

The COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and social repercussions have highlighted the social and health inequalities that make Indigenous communities particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and its impacts.

In response to COVID-19, representatives from Indigenous communities and organizations have quickly taken measures and applied their knowledge to protect the people in their communities, especially elders and individuals with chronic illnesses. The strategies used are based on known community resilience factors: frequent and appropriate communication, strong local leadership, protection of and access to the territory, a response tailored to the needs of the community, and maintenance of family and social ties.

Focusing on community resilience may be a promising avenue for protecting the health and well-being of Indigenous people in Québec and around the world. Community resilience will be fostered by actions that:

  • Consider the health of Indigenous populations from a holistic health perspective.
  • Inform Indigenous people of their population’s overall situation in regard to COVID-19 to better equip them to promote health measures and prevent infections and outbreaks in the communities or among people who visit them.
  • Support a process to ensure the cultural safety of healthcare and services in order to improve access for Indigenous individuals with healthcare and social services needs.
  • Broadly document/evaluate community resilience by examining the interaction between different resilience factors.