Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

National chief speaks up for beleaguered First Nation

  • Print

OTTAWA -- The Assembly of First Nations is adding its voice to a chorus of condolence for a remote northern Ontario community reeling from the recent deaths of two young people.

National Chief Shawn Atleo says his thoughts are with the residents of the isolated Neskantaga First Nation, which declared a state of emergency Wednesday.

The community, nearly 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, has seen seven sudden deaths since the start of the year -- four of them suicides, including two in the last week.

Atleo says the community needs the "unconditional and full support" of all Canadians, particularly given its small and closely knit nature.

Community and regional leaders declared the emergency to get help from the Red Cross and the Ontario government's emergency management office.

Chief Peter Moonias says he also needs government help in putting together a long-term plan to confront Neskantaga's problems with prescription drug addiction.

Moonias said the community, not far from the Ring of Fire mining development, faces overwhelming pressure to respond to the demands of both the mining industry and the provincial and federal governments.

"There are no treatments here, and more and more young people are taking their lives. This is unacceptable and something must change," he said in a statement.

"We are getting frustrated and concerned for our young people and entire community that Health Canada has not stepped up to ensure we have adequate resourcing available to deal with and prevent such crippling incidents from taking place."

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq also offered her condolences Thursday, telling the House of Commons Health Canada has sent additional nurses as well as counselling staff to the community.

"Our government takes the situation seriously, which is why we provided funding for drug and alcohol abuse programs in the community," Aglukkaq said. "It is also why the community received funding to prevent and combat youth solvent abuse."

Emergency Management Ontario confirmed Thursday it has received the declaration of emergency, and is consulting community leaders to determine what specific help they might need.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 19, 2013 A17

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Stuary Murray announces musical RightsFest for CMHR opening weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS STANDUP - pretty sunflower in field off HWY 206 near Bird's Hill Park Thursday August 09/2007
  • Carolyn Kavanagh(10) had this large dragonfly land on her while spending time at Winnetka Lake, Ontario. photo by Andrea Kavanagh (mom0 show us your summer winnipeg free press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google