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First Nations chief welcomes Quebec nurses' admission about racism in health system


Montreal–The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is welcoming the recent acknowledgment by Quebec's order of nurses that systemic racism exists in the health-care system.

Assembly Chief Ghislain Picard said in an interview today the order's comments reflect a desire within that organization to fight against racism and to respect Indigenous cultures.

The professional order, called Ordre des infirmieres et infirmiers du Quebec, said Wednesday it recognized that systemic racism existed—particularly toward Inuit and First Nations people.

The order's comments were in response to the death last September of Joyce Echaquan, a Atikamekw mother who filmed herself at a Quebec hospital while staff hurled racist insults at her as she lay dying.

Order president Luc Mathieu has said the decision to publicly recognize systemic racism came from a working group created by the organization to ensure no other Indigenous person is treated the way Echaquan was.

Picard says the next step is for the order to officially adopt Joyce's Principle, which is a set of measures drafted by the Atikamekw community to ensure equitable access to health care for Indigenous patients.

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