Enacting Indigenous Community Relationships and Governance Systems
COVID-19 has had an overwhelming impact throughout the world. Many countries, including Canada, declared states of emergency. Many people experienced self-isolation and practiced physical distancing, and schools have been closed. Around the world, Indigenous communities and leaders have drawn on their own environment, health, and education systems and taken important measures to prevent the spread of the virus. This paper provides an overview of Indigenous health systems, and a short historical discussion of the impacts of earlier pandemics on Indigenous people. It examines Indigenous experiences dealing with and managing the COVID-19 virus, and reviews literature from various reports, scholarly articles, websites, and databases. The findings show that Indigenous people have valued the knowledge that Elders carry with them and have developed procedures to protect the Elders. Indigenous people have also found ways to connect with each other, to live their daily lives, and to build and nourish caring communities. Findings from this research reveal the ways in which Indigenous people experience and address the pandemic through their governance models and show their adherence to Indigenous codes of ethics and laws.
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