The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes launched a social media campaign last week aimed at local kids, who tribal leaders fear aren’t taking the risk of COVID-19 seriously.
Artie Mendoza, who also goes by the stage name KiidTruth, recently released a song as part of a campaign educating kids 12 and older on the Flathead Indian Reservation about COVID-19.
“So the campaign is a COVID-19 ... just spreading COVID-19 awareness for the younger generation, and just spreading a message of protecting our elders,” he said.
Tribal leaders are asking youth on the reservation to make dance challenge videos on social media platforms such as TikTok using hashtags like #fixyourmask and #protectourelders. The tribe is trying to get kids to take up the challenge by offering up prizes. Other artists are due to release their own COVID-19 songs as part of the campaign in the coming weeks.
Mendoza was happy to lend a hand, and hoped the campaign gets kids thinking about the novel coronavirus’ impacts.
“The virus - I mean, we could outlast the virus, but that doesn’t mean my 92-year-old grandma could survive it, so it’s really imperative to realize that," Mendoza said.
The campaign launched right as four COVID-19 cases were confirmed on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Tribal health officials are encouraging community members without symptoms to attend this week’s mass testing. The reservation itself remains under a stay-at-home order and the associated essential travel restrictions.