The Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour has written an open letter to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who is leading the investigation into racist games being played in emergency rooms across the province. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

The Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour has written an open letter to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who is leading the investigation into racist games being played in emergency rooms across the province. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Victoria non-profit alleges Island Health not interested in holding people accountable for racist acts

Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour writes open letter to racism investigator

A Victoria-based non-profit has written an open letter to the lawyer investigating the allegations of hospital staff playing a blood-alcohol guessing game at the expense of Indigenous patients.

The Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour (SNIWWOC) says they have heard other allegations of racist behaviour. The letter also asserts that information from an anonymous source working within Island Health suggests that “the health authority is not interested in holding specific individuals accountable for racist behaviour.”

READ ALSO: MLA ‘devastated’ by claims of racist blood-alcohol ‘game’ at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

The SNIWWOC stated this sends a message that racism within health care can be “acknowledged, but continued without consequence,” along with implying the investigation is a “placating farce that will lead to no real sustainable changes.”

“We know that many Indigenous refuse to go to the hospital, even when they desperately need it. Federal health care services are supposed to be provided by the Indian Act and despite this, no list of First Nations doctors or nurses currently exists.”

READ ALSO: Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

The letter describes a number of incidents their members have experienced, such as doctors repeatedly refusing to prescribe patients with pain medication after they’ve experienced bone fractures; nurses taking babies away for longer “ignoring the overwhelming evidence that skin-to-skin contact is beneficial for the mother and the baby;” and doctors yelling at moms for money or insurance coverage while still in active labour.

After hearing those stories, SNIWWOC created a Peer Support Program, where volunteers from the support network will accompany women to their health care appointments to provide “the safety and accountability of a third-party advocate.”

The letter goes on to say that they found comments about bystanders and participants in the racist blood-alcohol game being able to share their information “without recrimination from their workplace” to be “extremely troubling.”

The SNIWWOC is calling for increased transparency of incidents of racism in health care. They’re also asking for every health care worker to take anti-racism and implicit bais training, and acknowledge that the existing cultural safety program does not provide adequate services for non-Indigenous, racialized patients.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Healthcareracism

Just Posted

The 14th annual Oak Bay Young Exceptional Star (YES) awards June 3. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay celebrates its Young Exceptional Stars with outdoor award ceremony

Nine young people recognized in 14th annual awards

A pub patio in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patio and picnic dining could mean a free meal for Greater Victoria patrons

Local celebrities pick up the tab with latest Greater Victoria chamber contest

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) Saturday announced a COVID-19 exposure at Oak Bay High School. (Black Press Media File).
Oak Bay High School subject of COVID-19 exposure

Greater Victoria School District (SD61) said possible exposure happened June 9-10

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read