First Nation has history of violent deaths


Advertise with us

BAD news has been trickling out of Shamattawa over the last decade.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$1.50 for 150 days*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Pay $1.50 for the first 22 weeks of your subscription. After 22 weeks, price increases to the regular rate of $19.00 per month. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled after the first 22 weeks.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/01/2010 (4709 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

BAD news has been trickling out of Shamattawa over the last decade.

Suicides, solvent abuse and violence have dominated headlines about the remote northern reserve, a fly-in community on the north shore of Gods River, 750 kilometres north of Winnipeg. About 1,350 people live in Shamattawa.

Shamattawa, which is among the poorest reserves in the province, made national headlines in July 2002, when then-chief William Miles declared a state of emergency after three people committed suicide and another 39 attempted suicide in less than eight days.

In 2007, more than one-quarter of the youths on the reserve either attempted suicide or threatened to end their lives.

In May 2008, four kids attempted suicide — the youngest was nine. They were among the 47 people who attempted to kill themselves in the first five months of that year.

Shamattawa is supposed to be a dry reserve, but alcohol and solvent abuse are common. Solvents like gas, paint thinner, glue and other products that produce a high when inhaled are frequently abused on the reserve.

A 16-year-old girl from Shamattawa was charged with second-degree murder in the death of a 15-year-old girl in January 2007. The girls had been sniffing gasoline or solvents when they got into a dispute. The younger girl was hit on the head with a log.

Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba is one of the biggest and most troubled aboriginal child welfare agencies in the province.

It serves a dozen of the poorest and most remote communities, including Shamattawa.

Awasis was at the top of the priority list for a systemic review following the death of several kids in care in recent years, including Rephanniah Redhead, 14, who committed suicide in Shamattawa.

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us