JOLIETTE, Que. -Events are being held today to mark the one year anniversary of the death of Joyce Echaquan, who was humiliated by hospital staff just before she died.
Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven, filmed herself on Facebook Live as a nurse and an orderly were heard making derogatory comments toward her at the Joliette Hospital, northeast of Montreal.
Commemorative events are planned in different cities and a ceremony with Echaquan’s family will be held this morning outside the hospital where she died.
In a statement, Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere asked Quebecers to use the day to reflect on relations with First Nations and Inuit peoples and the fight against racism.
Lafreniere says the Quebec government is working with Indigenous leaders to address measures proposed by the Atikamekw community after Echaquan’s death to ensure equitable access to health care for Indigenous patients.
Her home community of Manawan has announced plans to name a biodiversity reserve at Lac-Nemiscachingue in her honour, and the government says it intends to begin that renaming process.
Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dube, said in a statement that Echaquan’s memory must not fade and called on everyone to join their fight.
“The door she opened is too important, she cannot have died in vain,” he said.
“We owe it to her to continue to fight to break down prejudices and tackle injustices.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2021.