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In this together: Protecting knowledge keepers

In this together: Protecting knowledge keepers

In This Together is a series dedicated to the stories of people contributing to our COVID-19 response. The following story is an account from Spotted Fawn Minnabarriet, a public health nurse with Interior Health.

S7entsa Spotted Fawn Minnabarriet, squza7sa s7 Eleanor Wells muta7 Larry Gordon,  Lilwat7ulmeckan, muta7 St’at’imc (My name is Spotted Fawn Minnabarriet of the Lil’wat nation in the St’at’imc territory. My parents are Eleanor Wells and Larry Gordon).

I am honoured to be delivering the vaccine to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Providing the vaccine to St’at’imx Elder Rose Casper was a profound moment in my career because protecting our knowledge keepers is a very important teaching I hold from my upbringing. She is a respected Elder who I look up to as she set the path for not only Aboriginal nurses but St’at’imc nurses.

Rose Casper, Nurse and Knowledge Keeper

Rose Casper, pictured here in 1950, was the first Aboriginal nurse in Western Canada. She retired in 2013 after more than 50 years of service providing care in the Shalath community located at Seton Lake near Lillooet. In January 2021, Spotted Fawn provided Rose with the COVID-19 vaccine at her home at Mountain View Lodge.

I trust in the process of vaccine development and I have been following the covid-19 vaccine closely; I know that it is safe because I know that the world’s greatest minds came together to learn about this virus and learn how to use existing technology and resources in order to develop safe and effective vaccines.

Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine means a great deal to me because I know I can keep my family, community, and clients safe from this virus.  I am confident this is one step closer to beating this global pandemic. 

I come from a large family, who lives in a small First Nations community called Mount Currie, and is rich in culture and tradition. I was named in a sweat lodge ceremony. We are taught to take good care of each other and to help others as much as we can. Before entering school to become a nurse I knew I was meant to help others – that was just the way it was.

I understand the impact COVID-19 can have in a small community, where most community members are family. Part of my family culture is gathering with family and friends in ceremony. Getting back to that is important to me. Not being able to attend gathering or ceremonies has given me much more of an appreciation for them in the last year. The thought of gathering in a safe way again brings me hope and joy.