Elisapie, Ariane Moffatt and Patrick Watson pay tribute to Joyce Echaquan

·2 min read

A group of Quebec artists are coming together to perform a benefit in honour of Joyce Echequan — an Atikamekw woman who shared a live video of abuse she faced from Joliette hospital staff hours before her death.

The concert, called Waskapitan, was pre-recorded in Joliette last week and will be made available online as of Thursday Dec. 3.

The lineup includes Elisapie, Ariane Moffatt, Florent Vollant, Patrick Watson, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Richard Séguin, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Richard Desjardins, Boucar Diouf and Patrice Robitaille.

While the event is being released on demand for free, all funds raised through donations will go to the Lanaudière Native Friendship Centre.

"Waskapitan in Atikamekw means 'let's come together' and I think we need that more than ever," said Elisapie, who is co-organizing the event.

She said this is an opportunity to raise money for expanded services at the Friendship Centre, showcase Indigenous culture and, most of all, pay respect to Echequan's memory.

"It really shook everybody, it really shook me as a mother, as a human being, as a woman," she told CBC.

Jennifer Brazeau, director of the Lanaudière Native Friendship Centre, said that artists have a unique power to reach out and bring people together.

"We believe this is one of the vectors of change that we can implant after the tragedy to look toward how we can rebuild our communities," she said.

She's also hoping the message will reach beyond her local community.

"We didn't want the issue to be solely the responsibility of Joliette. The events happened here in Joliette [but] this is an issue across the country."

The concert will feature both Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists including some collaborations, added Elisapie.

"There will be times when there will be a real musical sharing of cultures. That's what we really wanted to highlight. We have to learn to be closer, to be curious, to be there for each other," she said.

The show will be available online from December 3 to January 3.