International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

August 9, 2020 is the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which this year showcases the resilience of communities around the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


During the Foundation’s recent Emergence Webinar on the COVID-19 pandemic’s implications for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada, panelists made observations worth revisiting on this day. 2017 Scholar Jamie Snook shared how researchers and communities responded to the pandemic in Labrador:


“I felt it was very heartening & empowering to see Indigenous organizations, in this case the NunatuKavut Community Council, respond the way that they did, which was quicker and more cautious. It was more culturally appropriate, and guidelines were quickly put in place for researchers, programs were put in place such as delivering firewood to elders, harvester support groups, the “One Mask a Time” project where local sewers got together…there was a whole realm of actions that show that Indigenous people will and can take care of our own. There really needs to be that level of self determination and I felt really uplifted to see that happen.”


Patti LaBoucane-Benson, a Canadian Senator and 2004 Scholar spoke on the resilience she witnessed first-hand in Alberta Treaty 6 territory:


“In Alberta, I have seen people mobilizing their resilience, a resilience that comes from a deep sense of interconnectedness, our deep kinship with all living things. I saw this interconnectedness being mobilized to close borders and protect elders. There was this intergenerational transmission of knowledge of pandemics and disease that was passed down over generations when this was first being discussed, the leaders out here, they believed it immediately and they acted immediately. I saw leaders taking immediate action. I saw organizations and communities sharing.”


You can read more on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples HERE.