More Indigenous-led services needed for communities, national wellness summit hears

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TORONTO - An Indigenous leader who lost loved ones in the Saskatchewan stabbing rampage says there's a need for more Indigenous-led services to help communities deal with tragedies and mental health issues.

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TORONTO – An Indigenous leader who lost loved ones in the Saskatchewan stabbing rampage says there’s a need for more Indigenous-led services to help communities deal with tragedies and mental health issues.

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand, whose sister and nephew were killed in the attacks, says such services were crucial to supporting families through what took place on the James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby village of Weldon.

Arcand is making the comments at a national summit on Indigenous wellness taking place in Toronto today where issues of mental health, substance use and lack of housing are among topics being discussed.

Mark Arcand, who's sister Bonnie Burns was killed during a series of violence attacks at James Smith Cree Nation holds a photo in Saskatoon, Wednesday, September 7, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

He says Indigenous-led services allow for nuanced supports and resources that account for issues such as intergenerational trauma from residential schools.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu says today’s summit is the first of its kind to bring together Indigenous leaders and community experts from all over Canada to share resources and knowledge.

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, says discussions at the summit are about exchanging information and supports to understand and prevent the conditions that might lead to tragedies in Indigenous communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.

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