First Nations people in Canada have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate persistent and resilient cultural, linguistic, and traditional endurance: survivance. The devastation resulting from centuries of health pandemics such as smallpox, influenza, cholera, tuberculosis, measles, and scarlet fever reinforce the ongoing resilience of First Nations people, cultures, and traditions in Canada. Despite the history of pandemic-related trauma and a myriad of social, political, environmental, and health challenges, as well as the added burden that COVID-19 is placing on the healthcare system in Canada, First Nations’ organizations and leadership are enacting their inherent rights to sovereignty and governance. While First Nations are bracing for the expected negative impacts of COVID-19, they are doing so in ways that respect and honor their histories, cultures, languages, and traditions. First Nations are acting to protect some of the most vulnerable people in their communities including elders, knowledge keepers, and storytellers who carry with them irreplaceable traditional and cultural knowledges.

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