KANA WAIN DIDA: A Virtual International Gathering on Indigenous-led responses to COVID-19 is bringing together Indigenous health-care practitioners, knowledge keepers, artisans, community members, and allies from across the globe on May 20-22nd, 2021 to learn from one another and share stories of challenges and resiliency of Indigenous peoples as they cope and respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Kitatipithitamak Mithwayawin: Indigenous-Led Countermeasures on Pandemics– aka covid19indigenous – a leading research education project out of the University of Manitoba, is hosting the three-day virtual conference in collaboration with University College of North. The research project name, meaning sovereignty over health in Cree, is co-led by Dr. Stephane McLachlan, Dr. Myrle Ballard and Dr. Ramona Neckoway. Key directives guided by 11 Indigenous partner organizations have been on risk communications, developing a customizable community health app, and organizing an international gathering to highlight and share health and well-being through Indigenous ways of Knowing, Being and Doing.
The Conference, Kana Wain Dida means “looking after each other” in Anishinabemowin. The gathering will bring together presenters from across the world to share their diverse responses and insights into healthcare grounded in culture, support and kinship, while providing a safe space for Indigenous peoples and allies to network, reflect on the successes and barriers associated with the pandemic, and plan together for the future.
Dr. Myrle Ballard, (Anishinaabe and Indigenous Scholar at University of Manitoba) shares “The gathering highlights how Indigenous peoples have shown immense leadership and resiliency by approaching the pandemic in Indigenous ways of knowing, reciprocity and mutual support.”
Dr. Stephane McLachlan (University of Manitoba) adds, “Governments still provide little-to-no support for communities, despite the grave threats represented by the pandemic. Yet communities from around the world have reacted in proactive and highly effective ways that non-Indigenous people and government can only hope to emulate”.
Presenters and allies will participate from countries including Australia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, India, New Zealand, and Finland as well as from across Canada and the United States. Topics to be discussed include community experiences, gendered violence, land-based learning, emergency planning, high-impact communications and much more. Keynote speakers, medical experts, knowledge keepers and researchers will share their experiences from the front lines. Also featured are film projects, artwork, music, story-telling, and cultural gala.
The gathering is an opportunity for community members, researchers, educators, students, healthcare professionals, healers, decision-makers, and members of the public across the globe to connect with one another to celebrate experiences and learn of Indigenous resilience and sovereignty.