Community calls the shots

After almost 18 months of pandemic restrictions, members of Hamilton’s Indigenous communities came together at Gage Park in September to dance, heal and make an informed choice about vaccination.

The Indigenous Health Social featured food, vendors, door prizes, traditional singers and contemporary Indigenous artists, including Juno-nominated headliner DJ Shub, to attract a new crowd to an event that focused on strengthening body, mind and spirit.

The province’s mobile vaccination unit — the GO VAXX bus — was on site, but the focus of the event was not exclusively COVID-19. Recognizing the negative experiences that have led some Indigenous people to view the health care system, and vaccinations in particular, with fear and suspicion, event organizers Hamilton Public Health and Indigenous organizations in Hamilton promoted the health of the whole community. To further increase trust and decrease barriers, information was also translated into Anishinaabe.

Excerpt from 2021 Fall Legacy newsletter