Op-Ed: The COVID-19 crisis on First Nations: a reminder of our inequality and an opportunity for change

A small checkpoint blocks a bridge that enters Lac La Croix First Nation to track community members who come and go to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
David Jackson/The Globe and Mail

Date Published: April 6, 2020

Source: The Globe and Mail

The Assembly of First Nations have said COVID-19 must be viewed as an existential threat to First Nations people. If the virus were to strike one of the 96 isolated First Nations, the devastation would be rampant unless there is a plan. In many First Nations, clean running water is a luxury and timely access to health care is not possible. Mouldy and unsafe housing have contributed to higher incidences of heart disease, tuberculosis, diabetes and chronic lung disease among First Nations. Inequality is a determinant of health and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the present gaps in infrastructure and services. Although the federal government’s provision of $305 million in emergency management assistance to Indigenous people in March is a start, there was a significant difference in the quality of life between First Nations and Canadians prior to COVID-19. Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations remarks, “As we are all forced to consider our own mortality, we should also consider our opportunities to be better stewards of our communities, of our resources and of our world.”

Read the full article here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-covid-19-crisis-on-first-nations-a-reminder-of-our-inequality-and/

Summary by: Jayoti Rana