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

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

There have been 23 cases of reported cases of COVID-19 in the Nechako Lakes Health Area

’Herbert’ Shane Hartman with his daughter Isla. (Shane Hartman Facebook photo)
Love for daughter and drumming leads to author’s first book

Shane Hartman spent very spare moment writing and illustrating Isla’s New Drum

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as fake Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

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

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

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

Most Read