A picture of Joyce Echaquan is seen during a vigil in front of the hospital where she died in Joliette, Que. on Tuesday, September 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Advocates marking MMIW remembrance day note death of Indigenous woman in hospital

Joyce Echaquan died shortly after filming herself from her hospital bed about 70km north of Montreal

Those wondering whether Indigenous women’s rights are still being violated need only look to the death of Joyce Echaquan for their answer, advocates said Sunday as they participated in an annual vigil for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, filmed hospital staff insulting her on Monday while she lay dying in her hospital bed in Joliette, Que., in what advocacy organizations said was yet another example of the sort of systemic racism that leaves the disappearances of Indigenous women and girls unsolved.

“Violence against them is still present, and last week we had yet another horrific example of this,” the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador said in a news release that renewed a call for government action to implement a national inquiry’s recommendations on the issue.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, in tweets Sunday marking the day of remembrance, commended crowds of protesters who marched through her city’s downtown on Saturday to demand justice for Echaquan, a 37-year-old mother of seven.

Plante called for people to be allies of First Nations to end systemic racism and discrimination, and to commit to reconciliation.

Echaquan died shortly after filming herself from her hospital bed about 70km north of Montreal, last Monday while she was in clear distress and pleading for help.

Two nurses have since been fired, and the coroner will hold an inquest into the incident.

READ MORE: Quebec coroner’s office to launch public inquest into Joyce Echaquan’s death

Those participating in Sunday’s virtual Sisters in Spirit vigil lit candles to honour Indigenous women who have been murdered or gone missing.

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, shared a photo of a candle, noting the significance of remembering lost women.

“I stand with the survivors, families, and all of our allies trying to push for better lives for First Nations Women,” Bellegarde wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also shared a message for families and victims.

“For far too long, we have failed Indigenous women and girls,” Trudeau’s Twitter statement read. “This ongoing national tragedy must end, and we won’t stop working with you until it does.”

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls delivered its final report in June 2019. It described the tragedy as genocide, and concluded that decades of systemic racism and human rights violations played a role in the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of Indigenous women and girls.

This past June, the Liberal government delayed the intended release of its national action plan on the inquiry’s recommendations, saying the pandemic was slowing the process down.

Lorraine Whitman, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada said while it’s disappointing that the government did not deliver the plan within one year of the national inquiry’s final report, it’s time to focus on what needs to be done to make Indigenous women safer.

Whitman shared some of the recommended measures her association submitted to Ottawa as it develops the plan. They include a new investigative unit for cold cases and a database monitoring the cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

“The tabling of the first version of the national action plan will not stop the violence overnight but I am confident it will start us down the road to creating a country that is a safer place for Indigenous women,” Whitman said.

The Ontario Native Women’s Association also published a report Sunday detailing its recommendations for ending the violence.

Those recommendations include investment in local programs supporting mothers involved with the child welfare system, better data collection about human trafficking and development of culturally sensitive victims’ sevices.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

IndigenousMMIWG

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donate
Castor organization helping charities shuts down after 29 years due to COVID-19

The Castor and District Community Chest came together for the first time on Nov. 21st, 1991

town hall
Town of Castor moves forward with utility bylaw amendments, consultation to follow

It is expected that the final readings of the amendment will be passed in December

County
County’s Stan Schulmeister acclaimed as reeve for fourth one-year term

“You do the best you can for as many as you can.”

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

City of Wetaskiwin Mayor presenting the AUMA Above & Beyond Award to John Maude and Susan Quinn. Ren Goode/ City of Wetaskiwin.
Wetaskiwin County residents win the AUMA Above & Beyond Award

John Maude and Susan Quinn are being recognized for their role in Wetaskiwin’s sustainability.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

Most Read