Canada’s shameful history of medical colonialism

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Highly unethical nutrition experiments under the care of two physicians (one of them a former president of the Canadian Paediatric Society) were conducted on many of these children without their knowledge or consent. Photo: Anglican Church archives


(Toula Drimonis/ The Conversationalist) — In September 2020, Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman from Quebec’s Manawan community, livestreamed a Facebook video that showed her screaming in pain while hospital healthcare workers openly mocked her. “You’re a f*cking idiot,” “only good for sleeping around,” and “you are better off dead,” were just some of the comments recorded.

Joyce passed away shortly after posting the video, which was shared widely online; the collective shock and shame at her death galvanized a movement to force Canadians to come to terms with the racism and colonialism in their medical system.

During the public inquiry that followed, witnesses and hospital staff testified to long-standing prejudice from healthcare workers and hospital administrators who neither knew nor cared that Indigenous patients were receiving inadequate care. (…)

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