Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) has started a campaign encouraging community members to get vaccinated, focusing on the cultural values of placing the needs of the larger group over the needs of the individual.
The campaign, Cousins Before COVID, focuses on younger Nation members, as Indigenous people between the ages of 17-40 are the least vaccinated age range.
“We cannot deny that COVID rates have increased throughout the region,” explains Warner Adam, Chief Executive Officer of Carrier Sekani Family Services.
“With the fourth wave and variants of the virus threatening the lives of our community members, especially those most vulnerable, we felt the need to speak up to our members about the values we all hold dear, and act to support those who are still unvaccinated.”
The campaign will focus on building trust, caring for the community, and supporting access.
CSFS said it acknowledges the resistance that Indigenous people might have to the vaccine due to a history of medical racism and government infringement on Indigenous rights and title.
“This campaign will put the values of our community at the forefront of the messaging, but
will also provide direct access to trusted information and put supports in place to make getting vaccinated easier for community members,” said Adam.
“As Carrier and Sekani people, everyone you meet in the community is connected, related by blood or by a connection we share; a sibling, cousin, an Auntie, or Uncle,” explains CSFS Board President, Corrina Leween.
“Historically, to survive, we’ve placed the needs of the larger group over the needs of the individual, and that’s how we’re going to get through COVID together.”
The campaign runs from November 2nd to December 17th across all 11 Carrier and Sekani Nations.
Videos, posters and social media posts will be distributed, and there will be prizes involved for those who get vaccinated and use #CousinsbeforeCOVID to share why the campaign is important to them.