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Joyce Echaquan video puts a real face on anti-Indigenous racism: family lawyer

MONTREAL — The lawyer for Joyce Echaquan’s family says he hopes the video of her suffering in hospital will help the public appreciate the discrimination Indigenous people face. 

Jean-Francois Bertrand said today that for many, the racism and discrimination felt by Indigenous people is an abstract idea. 

He says he hopes the video of medical staff making degrading comments to Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, as she lay dying in a Joliette hospital will be the wake-up call that leads to real change.

Bertand, who says he will file a lawsuit against the hospital on behalf of Echaquan’s family, says the provincial government’s decision to hold a public inquiry into her death is a good first step. 

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is scheduled to meet with Atikamekw chiefs later today. 

A private funeral is scheduled for Echaquan tomorrow in the Atikamekw community of Manawan, located about 250 kilometres north of Montreal. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 5, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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