(Quebec) A 53-year-old Attikamek died Sunday at the Chicoutimi hospital, a few days after denouncing racist remarks by staff. The CIUSSS du Saguenay − Lac-Saint-Jean has launched an investigation.
Posted on October 15, 2020 at 3:51 p.m.
The events took place a few days after the death of Joyce Echaquan.
Georges-Hervé Awashish’s cousin tells in an interview how the man got up during the night to go to the bathroom when he heard nurses laughing at Mme Echaquan. “We have an Indian here too! One of the nurses would have said.
“It’s very, very worrying. It’s disturbing to hear things like that, ”says the Grand Chief of the Council of the Atikamekw Nation, Constant Awashish.
“First Nations have been speaking out about humiliating situations for a very long time. We had video proof with Joyce Echaquan. For Georges-Hervé, there is no written or video proof unfortunately, notes the great chief Awashish. We hope for satisfactory answers, which will leave no room for doubt. ”
Georges-Hervé Awashish lodged a complaint at the Chicoutimi hospital in the wake of the events, explains Maylène Weizineau, his cousin. “He texted me on October 7 telling me he wanted to be heard too, like Joyce,” she said.
But Obedjiwan’s man finally died on Sunday.
The CIUSSS has since launched an investigation. “Complaints are confidential, so we cannot say whether or not there was a complaint. But there is indeed an ongoing investigation. We will be able to comment when we have the results, ”said Stéphanie Gobeil, spokesperson for the CIUSSS du Saguenay − Lac-Saint-Jean.
Quebec is following the file closely
The new Minister of Native Affairs says he is monitoring “the situation very closely”. “The CIUSSS du Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean took the situation very seriously concerning the death of Mr. Awashish. An investigation has been carried out and the conclusions will soon be known, ”Ian Lafrenière recalled in a written statement.
“The state has a duty to offer the same dignity and the same respect to everyone. Unfortunately, the members of the First Nations and the Inuit are the object of tenacious prejudices, in particular in the health network ”, concedes Minister Lafrenière.
“I repeat: it is zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in our institutions and I intend to quickly put in place concrete actions to eradicate the racism still present in some of them,” he adds. he.
Mr. Awashish’s family is anxiously awaiting the autopsy report. “We want to understand how he died,” said his cousin.
Grand Chief Awashish demands a serious investigation. “Racism is sneaky, it is often hidden. It’s a bit like bullying in school. It is not easy to identify. When people talk about it, we don’t believe them. It is their word against that of others. It is a duty to denounce it and talk about it. ”
Maylène Weizineau knows something about it. In February 2019, his 14-year-old son was called “Kawish criss” by a coach in a Bantam B match. His team from La Tuque was traveling to Cap-de-la-Madeleine.
She publicized the case to the Novelist. “There was no sanction against the coach,” laments the mother.
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