by Jake Cardinal
(ANNews) – Many well-known Indigenous personalities, public figures, artists, actors, and athletes are coming together to protect our Elders during the COVID-19 pandemic with the new #protectourelders campaign. This initiative, which was launched last month, is led by Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation to encourage Indigenous youth to partner in protecting our Elders.
The campaign encourages Indigenous youth to participate by posting a video sharing what actions they are taking to protect Elders and including the hashtag #ProtectOurElders.
“Throughout our lives, Elders have helped guide us and protect us. They’re always there for us when the times are tough. We know we can always count on them to be there for us. So, now, we need to be there for them.”
– Ashley Callingbull, Ethan Bear, Zach Whitecloud, Sarain Fox.
Youth can also enter a contest to win one of four Zoom calls with either Ashley Callingbull, Sarain Fox, Ethan Bear or Zach Whitecloud. Contest closes June 30, 2020. To follow the campaign, check out the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation social accounts or visit protectourelders.ca.
#ProtectOurElders launched on May 28, 2020 and will feature a series of videos from Indigenous role models living in Canada.
Here are a few of the personalities involved:
- National Chief Perry Bellegarde
- 2015’s Mrs. Universe winner, Ashley Callingbull
- Host of RISE on VICELAND and Future History, Sarain Fox
- Edmonton’s very own, Ethan Bear
- The Las Vegas Knights’, Zach Whitecloud
Other influencers joining the campaign include:
- Dancer, Angela Gladue
- Dancer, James Jones
- Actor, Marika Sila
- Musician, Fawn Wood
- Activist, Theland Kicknosway
- Amazing Race Winners, James Makokis & Anthony Johnson
- Musican, Matthew ‘Creeasian’ Wood
- Artist, Delainee Tootoosis
These amazing people are coming together to help Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation share the importance of physical distancing and hygiene to protect Elders in First Nations communities.
“Elders are living libraries in First Nations communities. They guide and protect community members with their experiences, wisdom and teachings passed on from our ancestors. They are crucial in the survival of Indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions,” said Chief Tony Alexis. “The campaign was created to encourage Indigenous youth to be partners in protecting our Elders, who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.”
Even if you don’t participate in the campaign, here are some guidelines you can follow to do your part to protect the lives of our Elders:
- Practice physical distancing of 6 feet or 2 metres.
- Wash your hands
- Avoid touching your face
- Don’t gather in groups
- Limit all unnecessary contact with Elders
- Wear a mask when you can’t practice physical distancing
To enter the contest and/or watch the full videos, please click visit: https://www.protectourelders.ca/
Jake Cardinal is a Local Journalism Initiatives reporter for Alberta Native News.