Royal College Statement on Anti-Indigenous racism
Last week, the nation saw the tragic anti-Indigenous racism experienced by Joyce Echaquan, from the Atikamekw Nation, in the final moments of her life.
The Royal College shares the deep sadness and anger expressed by the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada at the mistreatment experienced by Ms. Echaquan. It is appalling that Indigenous Peoples and other structurally marginalized populations continue to experience racism and injustice in Canada’s health care system, and by some health care professionals.
It is no longer time for inquiries and reports. Deliberate and urgent action is needed to disrupt and dismantle the systems and behaviours that perpetuate racism and oppression, including ongoing education and accountability.
Guided by Indigenous educators and leaders, the Royal College continues its long-standing work to deliver educational resources, and integrate cultural safety in assessment and accreditation standards. These measures will enable every medical and surgical specialist in training and in practice to stop ongoing racism in our health care system and to ensure that Indigenous learners and others from marginalized populations train in safe environments. We know that more needs to be done.
We are calling upon all physicians in their roles as clinicians, administrators, scholars and teachers to work with Indigenous and other structurally marginalized peoples – including individual learners, patients and communities — to determine the solutions that will improve their health, health care and health outcomes. Together, we can achieve the vision of “creating health care that is free of racism where every Indigenous person is treated with respect, recognized as an individual rather than a stereotype, experiences the highest level of health, and that all stakeholders understand how colonial structures and systems link to current health inequities.” (The Indigenous Health Committee at the Royal College).
Susan Moffatt-Bruce, MD, FRCSC, PhD, MBA, FACS
Chief Executive Officer,
Ian Bowmer, MDCM, FRCPC, FRCP (London)
Lisa Richardson, MD, MA, FRCPC
Chair, Indigenous Health Committee at the Royal College
Chair, Indigenous Health in Postgraduate Medical Education Committee at the Royal College