Kym Gouchie lends musical aid to informational feature
As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out across British Columbia, the BC Assembly of First Nations has launched a new campaign to “help dispel myths and encourage everyone to be vaccinated" in Indigenous communities.
The “Protecting Our People” public service announcement, aimed at reducing vaccine hesitancy, was released March 8 and will be broadcast on television and social media.
The short animation, with beautiful graphic visuals by Derek Edenshaw, a Haida and Cree artist, and a musical soundtrack by Kym Gouchie of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation, explains how the vaccine protects Indigenous communities, and particularly Elders.
BCAFN explains that many First Nations are understandably cautious and have questions about the vaccines.
“Our peoples’ experiences with the Canadian health care system and colonial values make some of us hesitant about receiving vaccines,” BCAFN states. “Unfortunately, false information is being circulated, especially on social media, about the COVID-19 vaccines.”
BCAFN is hoping that through sharing information about the various vaccines on their website and through the new campaign, they can bring “peace of mind to those who have questions.”
“We know that COVID-19 kills elderly people at higher rates than younger people,” BCAFN states. “Our Elders hold our knowledge, cultures, and languages. We need to ensure that Elders are vaccinated and that as many people as possible get vaccinated to achieve 'herd immunity' and build additional protection for our vulnerable members.”
Terry Teegee, regional chief of the BCAFN, narrates the campaign video, stressing that the vaccine is safe and has gone through rigorous testing.
“When you look at the numbers coming out of surveys on the vaccine, you see a high degree of hesitance for anyone under the age of 65,” Teegee said.
“We know that this disease can target anyone and can have serious and lifelong impacts. We wanted to do our part to help dispel myths and encourage everyone to be vaccinated. That’s the only way to protect our communities, and I myself will be getting vaccinated as soon as I can.”
In First Nations communities across B.C., there have been 2,436 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Indigenous Services Canada (ISC).
The launch of the video coincides with vaccines becoming available to more Indigenous communities in B.C. this week. As of March 9, there were 506 communities with vaccinations underway and 162,155 doses had been administered across Canada, reports ISC.