Death of Joyce Echaquan She continues to be insulted by

Death of Joyce Echaquan: “She continues to be insulted by the government” | The Death of Joyce Echaquan –

The Atikamekw community of Manawan and its allies commemorated the three-year-old death of Joyce Echaquan in Joliette on Thursday evening without her family in attendance. A turning point that was also marked by increasingly confident speeches from indigenous dignitaries.

Gisèle Flamand remembers the day she learned that Joyce Echaquan had died in Joliette Hospital amid a barrage of insults. It was a shock. I wanted to leave Montreal [où elle réside, NDLR] “And go find her, go help her,” she said, a purple scarf tied around her head.

She says her mother also suffered from Aboriginal prejudice. Since she was suffering from cancer, her diagnosis was made later as every time she visited the hospital it was decided to simply give her a bath.

That’s why Gisèle and dozens of people wanted to meet her family on Thursday evening in front of the Lanaudière Native Friendship Center to remember Joyce.

Close-up of purple candles and in the background Marjolaine Etienne, President of Quebec Native Women.

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Indigenous peoples must come together to heal. Marjolaine Etienne, president of Native Women of Quebec, was in attendance.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

I think it’s important to commemorate the event every year to make sure we don’t forget what happened and also to take a moment to see the progress we’ve made and to to be able to emphasize this to Joyce’s family and her children. The events also led to something, explains Jennifer Brazeau, the director of the friendship center.

In the square in front of the building, the crowd is busy collecting purple sweaters and scarves, Joyce Echaquan’s favorite color. Some politicians also come, such as Sipi Flamand, the leader of the original community of Joyce, Manawan, Constant Awashish, the great chief of the Atikamekw nation, or even Rémy Vincent, the chief of Wendake.

The crowd in front of Joliette Hospital.

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Non-locals were also there to support the Atikamekw.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

In the background, Carole Flamand, therapist and elder, offers anyone who wants or needs the opportunity to cleanse themselves with sage. She remains hopeful that things will change. Encountering people gives you the strength to overcome life’s trials, she assures.

Because this moment of contemplation is an opportunity for healing for the Atikamekw community. Together.

“That’s the beauty of us,” believes the one who explains that he supports the people who are still painfully grieving.

Carole Flamand sits on a table with sage burning in a bowl.

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Carole Flamand was present to provide spiritual support.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

As darkness falls and before the march towards Joliette Hospital begins, Atikamekw artist Laura Niquay presents some of her songs with her deep voice accompanied by her guitar.

Candles, also purple, begin to glow in the crowd. The little flames dance in the hands of everyone who came to support Joyce’s family.

Constant Awashish holds a candle.

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Constant Awashish read a letter from Joyce Echaquan’s family.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

However, this year Carol Dubé, Joyce’s partner, and her children decided to stay in Manawan. In a letter read by Constant Awashish, the family expresses their confidence.

Three years ago, Joyce closed her eyes for the last time and opened those of others at the same time.

It’s up to you not to let Joyce’s sacrifice be forgotten and to hope that in a year we can celebrate her legacy and not her death, the family says.

Ghislain Picard.

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Ghislain Picard reiterated that it was important for the government to adopt the Joyce Principle.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

In the background, no one forgets that the Quebec government has still not adopted the Joyce Principle, which stipulates equal treatment of indigenous peoples in the medical field.

The government still does not want to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism.

These two points will be taken up very often by Aborigines and community representatives this Thursday evening.

Ian Lafreniere.

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Ian Lafrenière was present but did not attend the memorial service

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

As Manawan leader Sipi Flamand walks the short kilometer that separates the Friendship Center from the hospital, he loudly chants “Justice for Joyce” and “No more systemic racism.”

With him at the head of the procession, several dignitaries hold a banner, followed by a crowd of around 200 people. Children in their strollers, young people, Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal people supporting each other.

The head of Manawan speaks in front of the hospital. He begins: “We ask the government… before we recover and shout even louder: …we order the government to adopt the Joyce Principle, for the good of all.”

Close-up of a scarf with the image of Joyce Echaquan.

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The march ended at the foot of Joliette Hospital.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

We are angry because the government doesn’t hear us. I see that the Minister is here today and I hope that he will deliver our message to Parliament.

Joyce continues to be insulted by the government’s refusal to embrace the Joyce Principle, says Nadia Robertson, spokesperson for the Council of Elected Women of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (APNQL).

A little girl holds a candle in her hands.

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Children were also present at the memorial service.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Somewhere in the crowd, Minister of Indigenous Relations Ian Lafrenière can be seen in the background. He declined our interview requests, pointing out that now is the time to give the Atikamekw the opportunity to speak out.

Ghislain Picard, the leader of the AFNQL, continues after a few words in Innu-aimun: The political power has chosen to isolate itself in unacceptable denial, he asserts.

Jennifer Brazeau, the president of the Friendship Center, believes that the government has a very good understanding of what the Atikamekw and all indigenous peoples expect from it, but that it prefers to play the game of politics and stick to a partisan position to achieve its goals to satisfy voters.

Jennifer Brazeau.

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Jennifer Brazeau believes the government is choosing to please its voters rather than adopting the Joyce Principle.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

At the end of the evening, the artist Mikon Ottawa stands up with his hat on. She sings a cappella a song that evokes sadness.

Words that literally and figuratively resonate at the foot of Joliette Hospital.