The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC, 2015) report calls for organizations to address the mental health gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The magnitude of lost caregiving roles for First Nations mothers in Saskatchewan, Canada was identified in the 2010 Saskatchewan Child Welfare Report where 90% of children in Child Welfare were of this descent, and no longer raised with a connection to their culture’s traditions and beliefs. Depression, anxiety and the contributing factors of substance abuse are the most common mental health conditions in Canada. Current mental health programs based in Judeo-Christian interventions do not meet the needs of Indigenous families), therefore, interventions should be more aligned with Indigenous traditions and include the integration of traditional healing methods. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health and stress on Indigenous families are further complicated by the loss of structure, socialization and relationship building.
Current research is exploring how grandmother’s stories of traditional interventions may provide Indigenous families living in north central Regina with meaningful and culturally appropriate pathways to cope with stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit of Grandmothers’ shared information to gain community participation in lifestyle health is the respect they hold by a community to deal with challenging situations. Their participation in a breastfeeding promotion resulted in a twofold increase of breastfeeding. Collecting information in regards to infection control would lend itself to community use of preventive measures in the spread of Covid 19, recognizing the population’s risk for illness and morbidity dealing with more chronic illness and poverty. It is well known that prior to European contact the population had little disease due to traditional practices that prevented outbreaks or quickly dealt with them.
This research promises support to family cohesiveness, bonding and attachment during the COVID -19 pandemic. Develop of resources established and approved by the grandmothers that families in the north central Regina Indigenous population can use to manage anxiety and stress during COVID-19. Along with this is establishing the caregiving identity of mothers, consistence with the beliefs and definitions of the Indigenous culture to guide and direct government policies put in place to assist this population to cope with mental issues they deal with at this time.