Breaking News! Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada declared in a unanimous ruling that the federal government has constitutional responsibility for Mtis and nonstatus Indians
These groups will now have the ability to negotiate with Ottawa over rights, treaties, services, and benefits The Trudeau government set aside $8.4 billion
of new funding in A challenge for the federal government, but a great day for Mtis and non-status Indians, right? or is it? Attawapiskat is an isolated First Nation reserve in
the James Bay region It is home to about 2000 Attawapiskat a community in Crisis A state of emergency was declared in Attawapiskat after 11 people tried to kill themselves on Saturday, April 9th Two days later, police intervened to stop a suicide pact by 13 more Native youths (including a 9-year-old)
A crisis team, including mental health nurses and social workers has been flown in to provide help According to the Assembly of First Nations, more than 100 people in Attawapiskat have tried to kill themselves since September of last year Attawapiskat a community in Crisis In fact, the community has declared five emergencies since
2006 for issues that ranged from flooding, to a shortage of drinking water, to a lack of housing History repeats itself Davis Inlet Back in the early 1990s, the Innu community of Davis Inlet became a symbol of the social Most of the adults battled alcoholism and in problems
faced bychildren died in a house 1992, six unattended Native in were drinking at a fire whilepeople their parents dance Canada About one quarter of the adults in Davis Inlet had attempted suicide in the previous year
In 1993, a video was released to the media of six children between the ages of 11 and 14 inhaling gas in an unheated shack in winter and shouting that they wanted to die Shamed by the negative publicity and international outcry, the Canadian government agreed to move the Innu to mainland Labrador in 2002 The problems of suicide, alcohol and solvent abuse followed the community
and in 2008 they voted to outlaw alcohol entirely Native Health and Wellness in Canada Attawapiskat is just one of many isolated Native communities struggling with: The legacy of residential schools Family breakdown Joblessness Poverty
Domestic violence Drug and alcohol abuse Crime and gang activity Native Suicide Rates Native teens and children also point to a lack of youth facilities, crowded houses, and bullying as factors that grind them down The sense of hopelessness created by these conditions has led to suicide rates that are far higher than average
Suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading cause of death for First Nations people under 44 Native Suicide Rates According to the Centre for Suicide Prevention, the suicide rate among First Nations males aged 15-24 is 126 per 100,000 people compared with 24 per 100,000 for non-Native males
For First Nations females, the rate is 35 per 100,000 compared with only 5 per 100,000 for non-Native females Suicide rates for Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average Factors in Native Suicide The effects of colonization and the governmental policies of forced
assimilation continue to cause damage amongst the Native population These effects can be passed on from one generation to the next, and often result in feelings of marginality, depression, anxiety, and identity confusion The impact of a single suicide is often felt by the entire community and can have a contagion effect, leading to other suicides Protective Factors
Not all Native communities experience high suicide rates In communities where there is a strong sense of culture and community ownership, there are much lower rates of suicide and sometimes none at all Protective factors include: Self-government & land control Control over education & cultural activities Health services and command of police/fire services High levels of indigenous language use
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