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 family of an Indigenous woman subjected to degrading remarks before her death Monday at a hospital north of Montreal will announce details of legal proceedings stemming from the case.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

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 family of an Indigenous woman subjected to degrading remarks before her death Monday at a hospital north of Montreal will announce details of legal proceedings stemming from the case.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Family of Indigenous woman subjected to slurs in Quebec hospital to announce lawsuit

Quebec’s coroner’s office is investigating Joyce Echaquan’s death as is the regional health authority

The family of an Indigenous woman subjected to insults as she lay dying in hospital says it will seek justice for her by launching legal proceedings.

Members of Joyce Echaquan’s family, community members and lawyer Jean-Francois Bertrand said in a news release they will announce their legal action Friday at the native friendship centre in Joliette, Que., northeast of Montreal.

Before her death, the 37-year-old Atikamekw mother filmed herself from her hospital bed Monday while she was in clear distress and pleading for help. Two female hospital staff can be seen entering the room and are heard insulting Echaquan, who had been admitted with stomach pain.

The video circulated widely on social media and prompted widespread indignation across the country.

On Thursday, the regional health authority for the Joliette region confirmed that a second health-care worker had been fired in connection with the treatment of Echaquan, a mother of seven.

Quebec’s coroner’s office is investigating Echaquan’s death as is the regional health authority.

Bertrand, a Quebec City-based lawyer, said in a statement the family wants justice for the “racist and degrading” treatment Echaquan suffered in hospital. He said the family is looking for a just and appropriate redress and to “ensure such discriminatory and repeated acts of inconceivable violence against Indigenous people finally cease.”

Paul-Emile Ottawa, chief of the Atikamekw council in Manawan, Que., called Friday for Premier Francois Legault to take immediate measures to make sure what happened to Echaquan doesn’t occur again. He said in a statement he wants a nation-to-nation meeting with the premier.

Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador, cancelled a Friday morning meeting he had scheduled with Legault.

The premier confirmed the cancellation on Twitter, calling Picard’s decision unfortunate.

“I am also available to meet with the chiefs of the Atikamekw Nation,” he tweeted. “The door to my office remains open.”

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Indigenous

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

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Cottonwood Lake fundraiser reaches goal

The community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

B.C.’s court of appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Kootenay man appeals 7-year conviction for New Year’s Eve kidnapping, beating

Brandon Coons, 27, was convicted on five charges, including assault with a weapon

Lesley Garlow, Indigenous educator at Touchstones Museum of Art and History, with two of many red dresses hanging outside Nelson City Hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Red dress exhibit outside Nelson City Hall calls for justice for Indigenous women and girls

The REDress Project has also been installed in Touchstones gallery

The province is adding 144 new child-care spaces to the West Kootenay. File photo
Province adds 144 child-care spaces to West Kootenay

New projects announced for Castlegar, Nakusp, Winlaw and Nelson

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Most Read