The high costs and challenging logistics of transporting food and needed supplies to isolated northern communities across Canada is well documented. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has further compounded the problem.
Indigenous peoples experience a high degree of socio-economic marginalization and are at disproportionate risk in public health emergencies, becoming even more vulnerable during this global pandemic, owing to factors such as their lack of access to effective services.
As lock downs continue in numerous communities, with no end in sight, Indigenous peoples who already face food insecurity, as a result of the loss of their traditional lands and territories, confront even graver challenges in access to food. With the loss of their traditional livelihoods, which are often land-based, many Indigenous peoples who work in traditional occupations and subsistence economies or in the informal sector will be adversely affected by the pandemic.
Indigenous peoples are seeking their own solutions to this pandemic. They are taking action, and using traditional knowledge and practices such as voluntary isolation, and sealing off their territories, as well as preventive measures – in their own languages.
One Indigenous organization, Indigenous Sports & Wellness of Ontario, is truly making a difference. Working in partnership with the Rotary Club of Kenora, Gardewine, Trucks for Change and HIP, they are leading the charge in delivering needed supplies to isolated communities.