The Kenora Chiefs Advisory Board of Directors is reflecting as we honor and remember Joyce Echaquan on the one-year anniversary of her death.
One year ago, the Atikamekw mother died in the Joliette Hospital while hospital staff mocked her with racist taunts.
Echaquan live-streamed her experience on Facebook, while she cried in pain and experienced stomach pains.
The video went viral after her death leading to calls across the country for the priority need to improve conditions and services for Indigenous people in health-care centres.
“As not only leaders who sit on the Board of Directors for Kenora Chiefs Advisory, but also as leaders of our communities our Chiefs know our people are hurting, and the one-year anniversary of this tragic and horrendous death is a reminder to the challenges and obstacles our people still over come daily”, said Chief Lorraine Cobiness of Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, Board President for Kenora Chiefs Advisory.
The need to build and provide the infrastructure in First Nation communities, as a way to support the traditional and cultural way of healing is still a must.
By working hand in hand with communities and health care officials, we can create a true partnership of combining both our traditional and western way of healing, and ensuring First Nations people are receiving the adequate and equitable health care they deserve. “This event was heart breaking, and we are sending our thoughts and love to her family, and we must use this instance and the instances like this all over the country to take action, and make improvements to our Health Care system, so things such as this NEVER happen again”, added Cobiness.
Both the council of Atikamekw of Manawan and the Council de la Nation Atikamekw have called on the Federal and Quebec government to implement Joyce’s Principle, which would guarantee all Indigenous people the right of equitable access to all social and health services without any discrimination, as well as right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Kenora Chiefs Advisory is working diligently, to try and start addressing these inequities, and have been very thrilled to have the help and support of multiple local physicians. Through this new model KCA is implementing, it has allowed for Physicians, Nurses and support staff to travel to communities and provide Primary Care first hand to them, instead of dealing with the barriers of no access in community.
This is an initiative we have worked tirelessly at, and are continuing to advocate for on both the provincial and federal level for our people, and for their health.
“We need to use this injustice to push forward for our people, and as we navigate this new primary care system at Kenora Chiefs Advisory, we are so grateful to our physicians and health staff who have been apart of this since the beginning, and are helping us bring forward these necessary changes in thinking and system planning”, concluded Cobiness.
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