Investigation Launched into Hospital’s Racist Treatment of Joyce Echaquan
October 2, 2020 | Coast Salish Territory – The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) and the First Nations Health Directors Association (FNHDA) stand with the community and family of Joyce Echaquan, whose death at a Quebec hospital is now the subject of two investigations into the role of anti-Indigenous and racist treatment in Ms. Echaquan’s death. These allegations reveal the urgency of making systemic change in Canada to ensure equitable treatment and access to care for Indigenous peoples. The FNHA, FNHC and FNHDA are committed to a commitment to zero tolerance of racism, which can mean lack of equitable care and death for Indigenous people.
The success of the BC First Nations Health Governance structure is based upon our core set of values, our guiding Seven Directives given to us by BC First Nations, and our Shared Vision Statement and collective goal of “Healthy, Self-Determining and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities.” Addressing racism and achieving health care equity is a shared goal for the First Nations Health Council and the First Nations Health Authority, partners in the made-in-BC health governance structure for First Nations – achieved through commitments to cultural safety and humility and lateral kindness.
Canada’s colonial history, including Indian hospitals that harmed Indigenous children and adults with non-consensual medical interventions, continues to haunt us today. Recent allegations of anti-Indigenous racism in BC prompted creation of the Accessing Racism Investigation by the BC Minister of Health. The investigation’s existence – coupled with the investigations this Quebec incident – remind us all that systemic racism is an everyday experience for First Nation and Metis peoples across Canada.
About the BC First Nations Health Governance Structure: The First Nations health structure belongs to First Nations in BC. It consists of political representation, leadership, and advocacy through the regionally-appointed 15-member First Nations Health Council; technical advice and capacity development on behalf of First Nations community Health Directors and Health Managers through the First Nations Health Directors Association; and health service delivery and associated partnership and leadership functions through the First Nations Health Authority (including the services formerly delivered in BC by Health Canada’s First Nations Inuit Health Branch Pacific Region).The FNHA, FNHC, and FNHDA receive direction from community leadership and Nations throughout the five regions of the province through community engagement sessions. The Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health is the forum for coordinating and aligning programming and planning efforts between the FNHA, BC Health Authorities, the BC Ministry of Health, and Health Canada Partners.