The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) – in collaboration with several partners gathered within a regional committee, call on everyone to participate in research on free and informed consent and imposed sterilization, including obstetric violence, among First Nations and Inuit women in Quebec. The research is launched jointly with the Council of Elected Women of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), Quebec Native Women, the Cree Women of Eeyou Istchee Association, the Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec, the Office of Senator Yvonne Boyer, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services as well as the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay. The regional committee invites First Nations and Inuit women to testify on a personal experience or that of a loved one.
This research is part of the work of the Canada Research Chair on Indigenous Women’s Issues at UQAT, led by Professor Suzy Basile. More specifically, this is the theme of the research of doctoral student in Indigenous Studies at UQAT, Patricia Bouchard. “This research takes place in a context where the Quebec government has chosen not to participate in the federal working group on forced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada, underway since 2018, while we have come to the conclusion, in particular by the development of a literature review carried out by the Laboratoire de recherche Mikwatisiw of UQAT, that there is a glaring lack of relevant data on this topic in Quebec. In light of these facts, it seemed essential to us to compile a portrait of the situation in order to better understand it and measure its impacts,” says Professor Basile. This research therefore aims to document this phenomenon and the circumstances in which these medical procedures might have been performed in order to identify certain trends, if any. It will also be an opportunity to give a voice to First Nations and Inuit women who may have experienced obstetric violence by allowing them to share their experience and traumas.
“Last year, the sad circumstances surrounding the death of Joyce Echaquan shed light on the acts of systemic discrimination experienced by First Nations and Inuit women in Quebec health institutions. In this sense, this research is of crucial importance; in addition to demonstrating the violence that our women, sisters and daughters might have suffered, it is a first step towards achieving healthier practices and quality services,” indicated Marjolaine Siouï, Executive Director of the FNQLHSSC.