Policy Sectors

Press Release

Statement By Lorraine Whitman, President Of The Native Women’s Association Of Canada (NWAC), On Tragic And Racist Incident In Joliette Hospital

It was with horror that we listened to the cries of 37-year-old Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw mother of seven, as she lay dying in a hospital bed in Joliette, Que.

It was with disgust that we heard a nurse, a woman who was supposed to care for her, utter racial slurs rather than come to her aid.

It makes us wonder how many other Indigenous women are being subjected to this sort of abuse in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada but did not have the courage or ability to film their own distress.

We are glad that Quebec Premier Francois Legault has condemned the nurse’s behaviour and that investigations have been launched into this matter.

We hope the tragedy will also spur the Quebec government to act on the 142 recommendations of the Viens Commission which concluded last year that the province owes Indigenous people an apology for the way they are mistreated by the public service, including in the delivery of health care.

And we hope that all levels of government begin to take seriously the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and well as the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Only when governments recognize the harms that are being perpetrated against Indigenous people, take steps to correct them, and make the necessary reparations, will repugnant incidents like the one endured by Joyce Echaquan be prevented.

30 –

Media Contact:

For information, or to arrange an interview, contact:

Annette Goerner
+1 (613) 818-6941

Pour obtenir plus d’information ou prendre des dispositions pour une interview, contacter:

Annette Goerner
+1 (613) 818-6941

About The Native Women’s Association of Canada
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a National Indigenous Organization representing the political voice of Indigenous women, girls, transgender, Two-Spirit, and gender-diverse people in Canada, inclusive of First Nations on and off reserve, status and non-status, disenfranchised, Métis and Inuit. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Indigenous women within their respective communities and Canada societies.

À propos de l'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada

L'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) est une organisation autochtone nationale qui représente la voix politique des femmes, des filles, des transgenres, des bispirituels et des personnes de sexe différent au Canada, y compris les membres des Premières nations vivant dans les réserves et hors réserve, les Indiens inscrits et non inscrits, les personnes privées de leurs droits, les Métis et les Inuits. Regroupant des organisations de femmes autochtones de tout le pays, l'AFAC a été fondée dans le but collectif d'améliorer, de promouvoir et de favoriser le bien-être social, économique, culturel et politique des femmes autochtones au sein de leurs communautés respectives et des sociétés canadiennes.