APN Archives Marjolaine Étienne, president of Quebec Native Women
The fact that the CAQ government dismisses the notion of intersectionality of her vision of feminism is “worrying,” says Marjolaine Étienne, president of the AssociationNative Women of Quebec.
“If we don't recognize this approach, if we aren't working on the source of the problem, aren't we just bandaging over bandaid? Are we going to heal the bottom of it? raised Ms. Étienne in an interview with Le Devoir.
Intersectionality aims to recognize that the different forms of discrimination — based in particular on gender, age, socio-economic condition, ethnic origin, presence of a disability, sexual orientation — can overlap and add up.
In February, the office of the Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Martine Biron, said that this was not her vision of feminism. “My feminist position is a unifying feminism, a feminism that is in action, and that's what our government wants to do,” added Ms. Biron last Wednesday at the Blue Room.
Indigenous women experience different realities from non-native women, underlines Marjolaine Étienne, however. “The difference is based on the environments in which we live, and it is also based on the issues that First Nations women face on a daily basis. But intersectionality is important for all Quebec women, who can experience different forms of discrimination simultaneously, she adds.
On Thursday, Québec solidaire co-spokesperson, Manon Massé, tabled a petition in the National Assembly on the recognition of systemic racism and discrimination more specifically against Indigenous women and girls .
Admitting the existence of this problem is the basis, says the president of Quebec Native Women.
Concrete actions are put in place by Quebec, she concedes, but if no work on the recognition of racism and systemic discrimination is done, “is that in 5 years, 10 years or tomorrow morning, we will have to undergo other tragedies like that of Joyce Echaquan? she raises.
This Atikamekw mother died under racist insults from nursing staff at the Joliette hospital in 2020. The petition also calls for the adoption of the “Joyce's Principle which seeks to “guarantee to all Aboriginal people the right of equitable access, without any discrimination, to all health and social services”.
“What the Government of Quebec must understand is that we live with adversity every day,” said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, during a point press at the National Assembly. He apologized for the fact that the Caquistes seem to be “closing in”, rather than “standing out” in acknowledging systemic racism and discrimination.
The people of Quebec support Aboriginal claims, added Ms. Étienne. “We have collected thousands of signatures [for the petition], and our network continues to grow. Mr. Lafrenière, Mr. [Prime Minister] François Legault, what are you waiting for to listen to us and really be our allies, too? “
“It does not prevent us from working together”
Minister responsible for First Nations and Inuit Relations, Ian Lafrenière, says he understands the position of Quebec Native Women on systemic racism, without however adhering to it. “It happens sometimes in life that we don't agree, it doesn't prevent us from working together,” he argued in a press scrum.
According to him, the systemic racism is the wrong debate. “The debate is about defeating racism,” he added.
Mr. Lafrenière stressed that he was taking concrete action. “If I wasn't doing actions, if I was sitting on my hands, I couldn't stand before you today, it would be unbearable. »