A week ago the province opened up COVID-19 vaccinations to all Indigenous adults. It’s also when a member of B.C.’s legislature said she was flooded with racist emails.
On Monday (April 5), North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma went public about the anti-Indigenous correspondence she’s receiving after the province decided to grant at-risk populations – including Indigenous people 18 and older – vaccination priority.
Some of the comments “are extremely racist,” Ma said on Twitter. She’s asking others to help in the fight such bias and discrimination.
“It’s important for allies of Indigenous people to know how much they’re needed right now,” Ma said, noting the tens of thousands of emails her office receives each year.
“In my fours years as an MLA, I’ve not faced such prolonged emotional exhaustion as a result of emails I’ve had to respond to… it’s just a tiny taste of what Indigenous peoples face every day.”
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended – in light of health inequities Indigenous people face – they be among the first offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
First Nations vaccination clinics have led to an 80 per cent decline in active COVID-19 cases in the communities since January, according to Dr. Tom Wong with Indigenous Services Canada.
Let's talk about this…
There is a higher disease burden among Indigenous People in BC because of systemic inaction and racism.
High vaccination rates, so far, are decreasing COVID-19 cases in Indigenous communities. /1 https://t.co/7N5pLfhAkL
— Khelsilem (@Khelsilem) April 6, 2021
Squamish Nation spokesperson Dustin Rivers (Khelsilem) said, the government “created a greater burden of disease among Indigenous populations because of decades of inaction and racism.”
“The province’s approach to vaccinating all Indigenous peoples should be applauded as it prevents the worst outcomes from happening and the government not having to say sorry years from now.”
Ma reminded the public that vaccines are expected to be available to the general public by June.
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