Improving COVID-19 data protocols for Indigenous peoples in the U.S. and Canada: A public-media-based cross-national comparison

  • Haorui Wu Dalhousie University
  • Patricia Stukes
Keywords: COVID-19, Indigenous community, Trust, Communication, Public media, Top-down and bottom-up approaches, Data protocols


In response to current calls by the World Health Organization and United Nations to prioritize data processes regarding COVID-19 and its impact on Indigenous Peoples worldwide, this exploratory paper aims to briefly identify barriers regarding data processes for Indigenous communities impacted by COVID-19 in Canada and the U.S. Built on emergent themes contributed by current research, the research conducted qualitatively public media analysis to address communication, distrust, and community participation as issues, barriers, and solutions for thorough and accurate data processes. Funding has been a long-term existing and primary issue in addressing these three themes. Federal governments of both countries could better support the Indigenous communities by providing adequate funding, following through with their pledges of support, and sharing detailed, accumulated data with tribal authorities, and tribal epidemiologists. Better communication among federal, state/provincial, and Indigenous community authorities would improve data collection and analysis. Stimulating bottom-up community participation in COVID-19 efforts, not only promotes the data processes in Indigenous communities, but also empowers the local communities’ leadership to develop solution-based responses. This cross-national pilot research sheds light on the necessity of international collaboration advancing Indigenous communities’ health and well-being in both disaster and non-disaster settings.


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