Anger and hope in Val-d’Or

The walls of Edith Cloutier’s office are covered in certificates and awards, tokens of the decades she’s spent supporting and empowering Indigenous people in a small mining city in the northern reaches of Quebec. On a shelf beside her sits a thick folder of documents labelled: Val-d’Or Crisis 2015.

The ink and paper belies the human stories Cloutier, as the director of the local Native Friendship Centre, knows all too well.

In 2015, Val-d’Or became the backdrop to one of Quebec’s biggest police scandals, as allegations emerged that provincial officers had been physically and sexually abusing Indigenous women.