In this interview, Rae Gould, Associate Director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Brown University and member of Nipmuc Nation of Massachusetts, shares her experiences living with the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Gould begins by recalling her initial thoughts on COVID-19 in March 2020. She remembers that she did not recognize it as a serious threat and kept her plans to go on a birthday trip to New Hampshire. She explains that friends at other universities were canceling their travel plans and it was not until Brown similarly implemented travel restrictions, and when a close friend and healthcare worker warned of the virus, that her concerns increased.
She goes on to describe the Initiative’s transition to remote work as well as their work to realign the program’s priorities. Gould talks about the difficulty of slowing down work in order to check in with colleagues and maintain self-care. She explains that moving away from listening to NPR, scaling back on projects, and embracing gratitude and mindfulness helped her manage her anxieties. She also touches upon Brown’s three-semester plan to welcome students back to campus and speculates on whether it will be a successful decision.
Gould closes by stating that self-isolation is a time to reflect on the United States’ history of imperialism as well as Mother Nature’s attempt to work with and in spite of humans.