<em>Ikak’ila </em>means take care of yourselves. (Video still)

Ikak’ila means take care of yourselves. (Video still)

VIDEO: First Nations elders on Vancouver Island encourage COVID-19 vigilance

Hearing their voices and language reminds us who we’re keeping safe

Two teachers at a First Nations school in Port Hardy have put together a video about COVID-19 with elders from Gwa’sala and ‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations, speaking their Gwa’sala and ‘Nak’wala dialects.

”Our communities have been really concerned about COVID-19 entering our villages. The elders had some messages they wanted to share with the community of encouragement and safe practices,” said Robin Rosborough, a pre-kindergarten teacher who created the video with Grades 2/3 teacher, Michelle Hinatsu.

The pair are also part of a language program, working with elders to record and teach Gwa’sala and ‘Nak’wala languages. It was a natural fit then, to ask the elders to speak in their first languages for the video, sharing their cultural knowledge at the same time as urging people to make the safe choice.

The elders reminded people to wash hands, wear masks, keep distanced and take care of each other.

Hearing their voices itself is a reminder of who needs to be kept safe. Hearing the language, fluent to these elders whose childhoods were spent in Smith Inlet, Takush, and Blunden Harbour, Ba’as, reminds how much there is still to learn.

“Just have patience. There’s a time coming when the virus will pass. If anything, we want to be all present and accounted for,” said hereditary chief of Nak’waxda’xw Nation, Thomas Hiłamas Henderson.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


CoronavirusIndigenous

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lisa Love, left, and Dana Livingstone of the Wildlife Advocates Collective want to establish wildlife corridors along Sooke Road. The group wants to start with the new highway reconstruction project between Connie Road and Glinz Lake Road in Sooke. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
How creating wildlife crossings can help deer, bears – and even amphibians

Dana Livingstone knows the dangers wild animals can pose to drivers on… Continue reading

There were 164 more overdose calls in Greater Victoria in 2020 than in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria sees increase in overdose calls in 2020

Official says most deaths are in the suburbs, in garages and bedrooms

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on Greater Victoria nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of local hospital nurses

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read