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

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

RBSS students decorate a parking stall at the school as part of the Paint the Parking Lot project. (Facebook)
2021 Robert Bateman grads ‘Paint the Parking Lot’

RBSS students decorate Abbotsford school’s parking lot for a good cause

The Mennonite Heritage Museum on Clearbrook Road in Abbotsford.
Mennonite Historical Society in Abbotsford seeks input for storytelling project

Digital project asks for stories about living during COVID-19’s ‘changing times’

The city is considering easing the requirements for neighbourhoods to get traffic calming devices like raised crosswalks installed on their local roads.
PHOTO: City of Abbotsford agenda package
City may make it easier for Abbotsford residents to get speed humps on local roads

City staff suggests easing criteria for roads to qualify for traffic-calming measures

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Sex offender who viewed underage girls as slaves has prohibitions cut from 20 to 10 years

Appeal court reviewed the case of Kyler Bryan David Williams, 29

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

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

Lawrence Nadessan, 44, was last seen on Oct. 24 at 11:30 p.m. in Maple Ridge.
Maple Ridge man missing since Saturday is extremely out of character, family says

Cameras saw him leaving home, not dressed for the weather

Most Read