Northern Ontario First Nation promotes youth immunizations with video contest
A First Nation in northeastern Ontario has turned to humor to encourage Indigenous youth to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, located west of Greater Sudbury, received a $ 25,000 grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada to host a video competition to encourage youth to get fully immunized .
“One of the things that we are seeing in terms of demographics is that there is a bit of a bias towards young people, especially young men who do not get vaccinated with as high a frequency as d. ‘other demographics,’ said Sean Cassidy. , communications coordinator of Sagamok Anishnawbek.
“And there aren’t many better ways to target those under 30 than with TikTok or YouTube, because that’s what they relate to.”
Cassidy credited Nicole Eshkakogan, director of community wellness at Sagamok Anishnawbek, with the idea of reaching out to young storytellers to join their peers on social media.
“I think what we’ve seen across Indigenous Canada and the United States is that COVID-19 has created an opportunity to bring back our culture and our way of knowing,” Eshkakogan said. “I have never seen so many Indigenous artists, from our grassroots to our professionals, really take the lead in ensuring the safety of our people and helping us choose pleasure over frustration when it comes to impacts on culture. health of COVID-19 in our communities. ”
Cassidy said she has received video submissions from as far away as Alberta.
Grand Prize winner Sean Morriseau of Fort William First Nation near Thunder Bay made a humorous video on TikTok, in which he and his uncle played. In the video, he convinces his hesitant uncle that the vaccine is safe and will protect him from COVID-19.
Morriseau received $ 2,500 for his winning bid. The finalist, Eagle Blackbird from Walpole Island First Nation, near Near Chatham, Ontario, received a prize of $ 1,500.
Aboriginal hip-hop artist Talon Fire Bird, who goes by the stage name MightyBigBird, came in third and was awarded $ 1,000.
The campaign shows early success
Cassidy and Eshkakogan said they plan to measure the success of the campaign by comparing their community’s immunization figures before and after the videos.
Cassidy said the early figures were promising.
“At the last mobile vaccination clinic, we got a bit better turnout than we originally expected, which was really nice to see,” he said.
This most recent clinic had 70 vaccinations, he said, and many of the people who received their injections were the youngest they targeted with the videos.
Building on his early success, Sagamok Anishnawbek is in the running to receive $ 100,000 from the Public Health Agency of Canada to continue his video campaign. The First Nation is competing with similar projects across the country and will know by the end of September if it has received the grand prize.