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NWAC President calls for the co-creation of an Indigenous led training program to address racism in Quebec’s health care system


" Health care is a human right. Receiving health care in a non-racist, non-discriminatory, culturally safe environment is a human right.” - NWAC President Carol McBride

Sept 27, 2022

GATINEAU, Que. – Carol McBride, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has written to Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé to express her concern with the province’s efforts to provide anti-racism training to health care workers following the 2020 death in a Quebec hospital of Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman from Manawan.

According to a CBC news report posted on Monday, health professionals who took part in the training program put in place by the province concluded that it provided a superficial history lesson taught primarily from non-Indigenous perspectives, and a best-practices section that is rife with errors.

The report says the training includes no references to Joyce Echaquan; or the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the recommendations of the Viens Commission; and the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“The systemic racism in health care was addressed in each of these documents, with prescriptions for change. Surely, that would be a starting point for any serious effort of reform,” wrote President McBride.

“Minister, health care is a human right. Receiving health care in a non-racist, non-discriminatory, culturally-safe environment is a human right,” she wrote. “When Indigenous people know they will be treated without respect from doctors, nurses, and other health care staff, they avoid seeking medical attention.”

President McBride urged the Minister to meet with Indigenous experts to co-create an Indigenous-led training program, and to employ other measures recommended by key reports for ending discrimination in the health care system in his province.

“The racist treatment suffered by Joyce Echaquan, which continues to be experienced by countless other First Nations and Métis people and the Inuit, is atrocious,” wrote President McBride. “But it can be stopped if we have the will to take collective and decisive action.”

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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.