Co-RIG Blog – Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe

Building Indigenous Resilience in the Context of COVID-19

In another successful collaboration with the CMA Foundation, Phase II of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Impact Grant (Co-RIG) Program focuses on innovations and initiatives that prepare family physicians and their interprofessional teams to cope with challenges related to the pandemic and its long-term impacts.

This week we feature Dr. Lindsay (Lynden) Crowshoe and his team’s project, Building Indigenous Resilience in the Context of COVID-19. This project, developed in collaboration with the University of Calgary and OKAKI, provides meaningful and sustainable community-based solutions to promote resilience within Indigenous peoples affected by COVID-19.

Although government-imposed restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 have largely been lifted, they continue to detrimentally impact the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples and communities. Some of these consequences include:

  • The erosion of social connection and support, some of the tallest pillars that uphold the elasticity and agility of these communities.
  • Reports of increased levels of unremitting isolation stress.
  • Knowledge gaps about COVID-19 and lack of information on recent trends or updates due to ineffective knowledge translation and access.

Mental health is becoming a growing concern within Indigenous communities. While resources are required to address this, they are not easily mobilized or funded.

Dr. Crowshoe and his team of strategic partners have developed and implemented a bi-weekly internet broadcast that fosters an interactive knowledge exchange of Indigenous relevant topics related to COVID-19. The broadcast, “Keeping it Together: Stories of Wellness through COVID”, explores wellness strategies of Indigenous guests to inspire others. The sessions are archived and used for longitudinal discussions and serve as key resources for individual access and self-paced education.

In these broadcasts, Indigenous and Western sciences of wellness are explored together. The broadcasts illustrate the relationship between these knowledge domains and invite Indigenous people to engage with the family medicine clinic. In each episode, health knowledge grounded within family medicine is curated and presented in an easily digestible format. A key aim of this project is to strengthen social connections and deepen relationships between providers, systems, and populations served—all while meaningfully incorporating Indigenous knowledges and perspectives within healthcare activities.

“I speak up in a way that motivates people to shift by inviting self-reflection and collaboration rather than perpetuating oppression and conflict. In doing so, my intention is centered within Indigenous approaches to knowledge and process.”[1]

Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe