Yellowhead Institute – release of Policy Brief: “Colonialism of the Curve: Indigenous Communities and Bad Covid Data”.
There is wide discrepancy on COVID-19 related health data from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and provincial health authorities:
- There is no agency or organization in Canada reliably recording and releasing Covid-19 data that indicates whether or not a person is Indigenous.
- The division of powers between provincial and federal government has gradually displaced and disrupted Indigenous governance over time.
- ISC only gathers on-reserve data which eliminates over 50% of the Indigenous population who live off-reserve
- Canadian federalism was established to serve Canadians and consequently maintains discrimination and sub-standard service delivery in on-reserve communities.
- This jurisdictional fight between provinces and the federal government, where both claim the other is responsible for services, more often than not leaves Indigenous people without any services.
Through publicly available data—media reports, Band Council updates to members, local reports and obituaries—a team of researchers supported by Yellowhead has compiled and verified many more cases.
- ISC: COVID-19 cases = 175; Deaths = 2
- Yellowhead: COVID-19 cases = 465; Deaths = 7
The same gaps in data collection exist in child welfare and were a primary reason why the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls were unable to definitively identify the number of Indigenous women who have been murdered or are missing. Publicly accessible data makes it easier for Indigenous people to seek accountability from leaders, and to independently evaluate and measure the efficacy of interventions by all levels of government, including our own Indigenous leadership. In fact, this is probably one of the reasons why we don’t have it.