In 2022, Hotıì ts’eeda received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada under the Immunization Partnership Fund: Increasing Confidence, Acceptance and Uptake of COVID-19 Vaccines program.
The grant was aimed at reducing vaccine hesitancy and increasing uptake among Indigenous peoples generally, with a particular focus on communities with low vaccination rates and indications of vaccine hesitancy.
Hotıì ts’eeda’s project aimed to explore NWT Indigenous youth perspectives on vaccination and health services, with the ultimate goal of suggesting frameworks for innovative, Indigenous-driven public health communication and knowledge mobilization initiatives. The work contextualized vaccine hesitancy in the NWT within broader issues related to both oral traditions and lived experiences of institutional and individualized racism within the health system, in addition to lack of access to consistent and high-quality health services in small isolated communities.
Hotıì ts’eeda contracted Western Arctic Youth Collective (WAYC) to host a 3-day gathering outside Yellowknife in February 2023, bringing together youth from across the territory.
The main objectives of this project were to have NWT Indigenous youth share and discuss their views on vaccination and develop community-based vaccination and Indigenous health and wellness education, promotional materials, activities and outreach strategies.
The gathering embedded the themes of vaccination within the broader framework of Indigenous health and wellness, social determinants of health, value systems, and Indigenous knowledge. Using strengths- and rights-based approaches, Indigenous youth explored key health and vaccine questions creatively through multimedia approaches.
Hotıì ts’eeda and WAYC partnered with Reel Youth, a media empowerment project that works to empower youth through media arts. With the guidance of Reel Youth, the participants produced two videos out of the gathering. The videos can be watched here: