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TRC CTAs 11-21: Healthcare rights for Indigenous peoples - remembering Joyce Echaquan

(clickable links at the end of this blog post)

Day 5 of sharing the 94 Calls to Action (CTAs) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

As I think about CTA #18: “We call upon the…governments to acknowledge that the current state of Aboriginal health in Canada is a direct result of previous Canadian government policies, including residential schools, and to recognize and implement the health-care rights of Aboriginal people...”, I think of Joyce Echaquan, the Atikamekw mother of 7 who died in a Quebec hospital while being verbally abused by staff.

We know she was mistreated because Joyce captured it on video as she lay dying in the hospital bed. In court, the nurse testified that she (the nurse) was “overworked and stressed,” that “she didn't have issues with treating Atikamekw patients,” and that “when she heard her comments in the video later, she couldn't believe she had uttered them.”

Photo credit: CTV news

There were no cell phones to record what happened at the Residential Schools.

If a nurse caught on video offers those kind of statements as her defense – I’m terrified to think what else happened in the Residential Schools.

Canada, saying “we’re sorry” isn’t enough. We’ve had plenty of time to say sorry (and we haven’t all said it – i.e. the Catholic church).

It’s time to show we’re sorry.


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Progress Updates

Per this CBC site which reports on progress against the 94 CTAs – here are the updates as of June 5, 2021 on today's CTAs:


#15 - In June 2019, an act that would create the Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages was passed by Parliament.

#16 - While not all post-secondary institutions offer degree or diploma programs in Indigenous languages, there is progress. Some offer courses in Indigenous languages, included in larger Indigenous studies programs.


#17 - So far only Ontario, N.W.T. and Nova Scotia are waiving fees for five years for name changes on identity documents.

#18 – “The federal government has not formally identified or implemented the health care rights of Indigenous people. Some provinces and territories are making progress.”


#19 – “The federal government has not established measurable goals to identify and close gaps in most health outcomes, though it has committed to do so in some.”

#20 – “The federal government has committed to recognize and address the distinct health needs of the Métis and Inuit, but financial commitments are in the beginning stages.”

#21 – “The 2019 federal budget committed to support the construction and ongoing operation of a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility in Nunavut.”


Links to resources and charitable organizations:

Indian Residential Schools 24/7 Crisis Line:


Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action:

Progress update on CTAs (by the CBC):

Memorial Register of Children Lost to Residential Schools:

First Peoples’ Cultural Council – Language Legislation Resources:

Assembly of First Nations – Languages and Culture Resources:

"We Were Children", National Film Board documentary on Residential Schools, conveyed through the eyes of two children who survived. Available from Amazon Prime and NFB in French and English. May also be available through your local library.

Petition for National Day of Mourning:

Indian Residential School Survivors Society:

Orange Shirt Day:

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