UNDER THE NORTHERN SKY – Protecting Our Elders Should Be A Priority

Master Corporal Sinclair Childforever of Fort Severn receives a COVID vaccination while assisting paramedics in the delivery of the vaccine in Sachigo Lake. credit PO2 Kevin McCue
Master Corporal Sinclair Childforever of Fort Severn receives a COVID vaccination while assisting paramedics in the delivery of the vaccine in Sachigo Lake. credit PO2 Kevin McCue

by Xavier Kataquapit

I think most of us feel like we have been through several very weird years with the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change events like the recent forest fire summer and of course the terrible wars raging in Ukraine and Gaza. I wish I could be more optimistic in looking towards the future but it is not easy. The best we can do is just put one foot in front of the other and go on with our lives while being as kind and considerate of others as possible. Personally, my big focus is with one day at a time, staying in recovery and maintaining my sobriety.

I am looking at the coming winter with some concern as I hear reports of Covid variants in another wave of this pandemic and of course the flu as well as other sickness. My partner has a critical lung disease and was severely hit when we both got Covid last year. He is still recovering very slowly and will never be the same. I have what they refer to as long Covid which has triggered arthritis that flares up from time to time now and it is thought to be connected to having had Covid or possibly the vaccine.

Myself and my partner are isolating as much as possible while this period of sickness moves through our area once again. We have lost many over the past years to Covid and other diseases and we are fearful that we will lose many more family and friends this winter. However, we have all just been through a few years of figuring out just how serious Covid and the flu can be and so we should know how to stay safe. Part of keeping safe would have to do with vaccines but at this point I am not suggesting what individuals should do as there are still lots of concerning data we don’t know about yet in regards to all these vaccines. It is best to check with your doctor.

We also know that being careful, having a good diet and getting regular exercise certainly helps in dealing with any disease that is circulating. It is important to realize that when it comes to Covid19 there are some good solid facts to know. According to the World Health Organization a little more than 53,000 Canadians have died from Covid-19.

We also know that most of the deaths overwhelmingly have been in older people and those with comorbidities. There have been very few deaths in younger people and most of the passings occurred in the 65 years and over age category. There is also some thought that a certain amount of herd immunity is now in place and even with new variants serious disease is not being experienced with the young, middle aged and healthy individuals.

With all that information we should understand that if we care about our Elders and older people then we should be careful not to bring them in touch with Covid19.

Even if we are only talking about the seasonal flu we have to realize that it kills mainly the elderly and those with health issues. Depending on the government of Canada statistics from past years the flu kills at least 3,500 people a year that we know of and most of these people are elderly.

The thing is that we know it is important to keep Elders and all older people safe from dying of the flu by simply making sure they are not put in situations where they can pick up this contagious disease. That means staying away from Elders and older people and those who have health issues if we are sick. It is up to us during the flu season or a Covid wave not to sponsor and run events that draw Elders and older people together with the larger community.

It might seem like a nice or kind idea to create social gatherings for Elders and older people but really is it worth taking the chance if it puts them in danger?

Wouldn’t we all want to have a few more good years with these Elders and older people so we can benefit from their wisdom and share their time with grandchildren and family and friends when it is safe to do so? Keeping our Elders safe should be the priority.


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Under The Northern Sky is the title of a popular Aboriginal news column written by First Nation writer, Xavier Kataquapit, who is originally from Attawapiskat Ontario on the James Bay coast. He has been writing the column since 1997 and it is is published regularly in newspapers across Canada. In addition to working as a First Nation columnist, his writing has been featured on various Canadian radio broadcast programs. Xavier writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. He has provided much insight into the James Bay Cree in regards to his people’s culture and traditions. As a Cree writer, his stories tell of the people on the land in the area of Attawapiskat First Nation were he was born and raised.