Quebec Native Women president Viviane Michel steps down after nearly decade-long tenure

·2 min read
Viviane Michel is the outgoing president of Quebec Native Women. ( Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Viviane Michel is the outgoing president of Quebec Native Women. ( Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada - image credit)

After nine years at the head of Quebec Native Women, Viviane Michel is ending her tour of various Indigenous communities of the province.

The former social worker says she's satisfied with the work accomplished since she took office in 2012.

During her term, she saw the release of several action plans to support Indigenous women, counter sexual violence and combat racism and systemic discrimination, including the national action plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

"Words are important," she says. "Even though the government denies that there is systemic racism [in Quebec.]"

According to Michel, the last few years have been significant for Indigenous people in large part due to several Indigenous women alleging discrimination and sexual abuse at the hands of the Val-d'Or detachment of the Sûreté du Québec as well as Joyce Echaquan's death at the Joliette hospital.

"Women have been the impetus for everything that has happened recently for Indigenous people," Michel said, adding that she still has a "thirst for social change."

Félix Lebel/Radio-Canada
Félix Lebel/Radio-Canada

Although much needs to be done to improve Indigenous women's standing, Michel says she finds that Indigenous women are increasingly involved in university projects and as members of boards of directors.

"We're pretty annoying at Quebec Native Women, but we're annoying for good reason," she said.

As for life after the organization, Michel says she'll need to assess offers she's received.

"I'll work for Amazon," she said jokingly.

In truth, she says she first wants to take the time to reconnect with the land and above all, spend time with her family.

"I watched my grandchildren grow up over Skype and FaceTime," she said. "I think now is the time to stay in touch [more]."

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