“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)

Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

A B.C. First Nations Tribal Council wants the creation of a task force to improve health care for Indigenous people in northern British Columbia.

“I was overwhelmed with sadness that these types of treatment of Indigenous people continues today,” Carrier Sekani Tribal Council (CSTC) Chief Mina Holmes said of video showing a dying Indigenous woman being taunted by health care workers at a Quebec hospital.

“I was absolutely horrified and I think that is the general response to the video and story of Joyce and what happened to her.”

A Hamilton task force addressing racism was established nearly three weeks after nationwide outrage ensued following the death of Joyce Echaquan.

In an Oct. 21 open letter to Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, CSTC said Indigenous people living on and reserve in northern B.C. constantly face the same kind of racism and cruelty as has Echaquan.

“I feel that people of color, visible minorities, such as First Nations people, in particular are significantly over-represented in the discrimination in the health care system as well as other systems,” Holmes said.

Pointing to the Lejac (Fraser Lake) Residential School that operated from 1922 to 1976, Holmes said many generations had attended the facility in which many medical nightmares and unethical practices took place as well at the nearby hospital.

While an independent investigation by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond will release its findings into allegations of racism in B.C’s health care system before the end of this year, Holmes maintains an Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. cannot wait.

Read More: Wave of racist emails ‘unleashed’ on B.C. researchers investigating racism in health care

“These recommendations will also take time, and we’re not sure how enforceable they will be.”

Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada declined comment.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

First NationsHealthracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

The TNRD will no longer be offering free disposal days at its 29 solid waste facilities throughout the region. (Photo credit: TNRD)
TNRD votes to end free disposal days at solid waste facilities

Mattresses and tires on rims to be added to items that can be brought in at no charge year-round

The high volume of mail-in ballots received was still not enough to prevent this year’s voter turnout in Fraser-Nicola being the lowest on record. (Photo credit: Black Press files)
Voter turnout in 2020 provincial election lowest since 1928

Turnout in Fraser-Nicola lowest in riding’s history, but was boosted by mail-in votes

Get your plaid on and take advantage of Plaid Friday deals in Ashcroft on Nov. 27. (Photo credit: NDIT)
Community businesses need you to shop locally this Christmas

Local businesses are there when you need them, so be there when they need you

Plaid Friday promo photo, 2020. Photo credit: NDIT
Clinton gearing up for Plaid Friday specials and rewards

Special event on Nov. 27 features local businesses, prizes, and some great deals

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”
Free ‘Hollywood Suite’ movies in December include ‘Keanussance’ titles starring Keanu Reeves

Also featured is the Israeli-made ‘Valley of Tears,’ a 10-part war drama

Most Read