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Victoria Demonstration Calls Attention to Latest Incident of Alleged Anti-Indigenous Racism in BC

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Statement

Peaceful gathering held as BC’s Addressing Racism Investigation Underway

July 21, 2020 | Indigenous leaders and community members held a peaceful protest today at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital in support of an Indigenous man from T’Sou-ke Nation whose experience of racism while trying to access urgent care has resulted in inadequate and delayed care. The young man is a member Canadian Armed Forces, and a member of the T’sou-ke First Nation.

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 prompted creation of the Accessing Racism Investigation by the BC Minister of Health in mid-June. The investigation’s existence – coupled with today’s demonstration about another incident – remind us all that systemic racism is an everyday experience for Indigenous people in BC.

Accessing Racism Investigation. On June 19, BC’s Minister of Health appointed Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to lead an independent investigation into allegations of Indigenous-specific discrimination in the province’s health care system. Recent examples of Indigenous people being refused respectful or timely medical care remind us that this investigation matters. The goal of the investigation is to report on and make recommendations to address Indigenous-specific racism in ER departments in BC, within the context of the broader health care system. 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.

Indigenous People Urged to Share Their Story. All Indigenous individuals to complete the survey of their experiences within the BC health care system. People can complete the survey online or call and leave a detailed message for the investigation team at 1-888-600-3078 or via email at addressing_racism@gov.bc.ca.

QUOTES
M. Colleen Erickson, Chair of the First Nations Health Authority Board of Directors
“The latest incident is a further call to eradicate racism from our health system. We urge everyone to share their story through the online survey addressing racism. Individuals can also leave a detailed message for the investigation team at 1-888-600-3078.”

Charlene Belleau, Chair, First Nations Health Council
“We welcome this investigation into systemic racism in the BC health care system and encourage Indigenous patients and health workers to trust this process and come forward to tell their truth. The allegations that prompted today’s demonstration illustrate how systemic racism is experienced too often by First Nations and Metis people in BC.”

 

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