COVID-19 has served as a reminder of the devastating history that Indigenous Peoples have endured with infectious diseases. What still needs to be done to ensure the well-being of Indigenous communities?
In episode four of 3Qs at the U, Samantha Yammine – a University of Toronto alumna, neuroscientist and science communicator better known as Science Sam on social media – speaks with Jennifer Brant, an assistant professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, about how the structural inequities faced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada have left their communities particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
“[Government initiatives] all appear to be Band-Aid level responses that fail to address most of the structural inequities such as access to safe, clean drinking water,” Brant says. “I find it shocking that we’re still having this conversation today after years of calling attention to the issue.”
But Brant points to the creative and tangible ways that communities have been responding, such as protecting their elders from the disease. “What’s really inspiring is that we’re also seeing Indigenous communities come together virtually,” she says. “A big part of this is that sense of togetherness even though we’re separated physically.”
3Qs at the U is a weekly video series in which Yammine asks a U of T researcher three questions on a timely topic. It’s produced by U of T Scarborough interactive digital producer Cory Lawrence.