Native Ethnic Minorities in Canada and Israel Facing the Covid-19 Pandemic – How History Shapes Current Reaction?

Ronit Halstuch, Bar-Ilan University

This research compares framings and social response, between March 2020 and March 2021, generated by two ethnic minorities: First Nations in Canada and Bedouins in Israel. The pandemic has created a distinctive narrative in each group, which changes throughout time and to a greater extent with the vaccine's arrival. As Charles Rosenberg suggested, the pandemic's social response is a snapshot of the social order and central values of states' institutions and society. The studied populations are situated in different political spaces but share several demographic similarities and comparable political positions. Both groups see themselves as a native minority under colonial occupation. Moreover, they claim on historical connection to the nation's territory and injustice land expropriation while establishing the state. Regarding demographic attributes, each group has different settlements, unique language and culture, low socioeconomic status and lower life expectancy. Furthermore, both groups report on systemic racism and discrimination. As expected, data emerging from Israel and Canada imply higher morbidity and broader social vulnerability in the studied populations than the rest of the nation's people. Besides the similarities mentioned, both groups have traumatic history experiences shaping their identity and social pandemic response. The residential school system (1880-1996) and assimilation attempts by the Indian Act (mainly 1884-1951) are historical experiences that shape first nations' social response to the pandemic. Whereas, the ongoing conflict on unrecognized Bedouins villages and October 2000 events shape the social reaction of the Bedouins population. The different reactions Mapped into several analytical categories: • Trust in state authorities • Population cooperation with the covid-19 prohibitions • solidarity vs alienation concerning the rest of the public throughout the pandemic period • Immunization rates • Cooperation with local leadership In this research, I compare the populations' reactions by these categories and examine the response through pivotal historical events.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 236. Segregation and Sickness: Race and Health Inequalities