Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak Presents Métis Perspectives on Addressing Anti-Indigenous Racism in Canada’s Health Care Systems

OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 28, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Melanie Omeniho, President of Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak/ Women of the Métis Nation (LFMO),…

OTTAWA, ON, Jan. 28, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Melanie Omeniho, President of Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak/ Women of the Métis Nation (LFMO), presented today to the Government of Canada, Indigenous Leaders, panellists and participants at a federal two-day meeting held to address Anti-Indigenous Racism in Canada’s Health Care Systems. As part of her presentation on intersectionality in health care, President Omeniho launched «Kokum Chat», LFMO’s new digital short created for Métis Women, 2-spirited and LGBTQQIA+ folks to put a spotlight on forced and coerced sterilization and informed consent. 

This meeting was convened in response to the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, a First Nations woman from Quebec who had the strength and courage to record the blatant racism she was subject to moments before her passing on September 28, 2020. Joyce’s brave actions have truly brought the issues of racism in health care to the fore and have demonstrated clearly the irreparable impacts of systemic racism on Indigenous people.

«It is really important that we work together and that Métis women are part of the conversation,» says Melanie Omeniho, President of Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak/Women of the Métis Nation.  «Our hearts reach out to the family of Joyce Echaquan because that is what brought to light the things that nobody really wants to talk about.» 

Recently, LFMO held an engagement session to further understand the experiences of Metis women in accessing health care.  LFMO heard distinctly how harmful and pervasive systemic racism is in the lives of Métis Women, 2-spirited and LGBTQQIA+ folks in Canada, and this racism in the health care system puts them at grave risk.

LFMO launched their digital short that encourages and reminds Metis women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ folks that they have the right to make informed choices about your own bodies based on their own Métis values. Omeniho stated, «our Metis women often don’t know their rights within the health care system, they don’t have a trusting relationship and truthfully,  the only way to change racism is to build relationships».

LFMO speaks as the national and international voice for Métis women across the Motherland. LFMO aims to consult, promote and represent the personal, spiritual, social, cultural, political and economic interests and aspirations of women, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people of the Métis Nation across the homeland.

SOURCE WOMEN OF THE MÉTIS NATION