A scary situation has arisen in an indigenous community in northern Canada known as Attawapiskat First Nation, and a state of emergency has now been issued. More than 100 suicide attempts have come from this small nation since September, and the number continues to grow all the time. Now, many are even more frightened as there 11 suicide attempts in just one day this past weekend.
According to City News, both the federal and Ontario governments are attempting to help Attawapiskat, as the suicide attempt number has grown greatly in young people lately. In March alone, there were 28 attempts and now 11 in just one day.
The news from Attawapiskat is heartbreaking. We’ll continue to work to improve living conditions for all Indigenous peoples.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 10, 2016
On Sunday, a crisis team was joined by mental health nurses and social workers, and they all arrived in Attawapiskat to offer help. They were flown in as soon as humanly possible from the community of James Bay, which has a population of about 2,000.
Political figures are now doing whatever they can to help the community and are acting swiftly in order to get something done. The state of emergency was enacted so that as much focus can be put on the people and residents as possible.
— CBC News (@CBCNews) April 11, 2016
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the news “heartbreaking” and knows that the life expectancy of the poverty-stricken in Canada is below average. Among the 1.4 million people in indigenous Canada, most of them have very high levels of poverty.
BBC News is reporting that two mental health counselors were sent via the Health Canada federal agency, but more are expected to arrive. Charlie Angus is the local MP, and he knows that things have not been taken seriously for the people of Attawapiskat First Nation, and it is sad that it has come to this to get there.
“This is a systemic crisis affecting the communities. There’s just not been a serious response from any level of government until now. We’ll continue to work to improve living conditions for all Indigenous peoples.”
Self-inflicted injuries and suicides are close to the top causes of death for First Nations in Canada, and the attention has simply not been given to them. Some feel as if the poverty-stricken nations are forgotten about or disregarded.
There is another aboriginal community in Canada that lies in the western province of Manitoba, and it pleaded for federal aid in March. They let federal agencies and governments know that there had been six suicides in two months and a total of 140 suicide attempts in a mere two weeks.
— Jorge Barrera (@JorgeBarrera) April 11, 2016
Jackie Hookimaw is a member of the Attawapiskat First Nation, and she said that the suicide epidemic began back in the fall. The current round of suicide attempts by the youths of the community began with her 13-year-old great-niece Sheridan, who took her own life in October.
These types of suicide waves are not uncommon for First Nations, Metis, and Intuit people, but the high amount of them in recent months have garnered a lot of attention. Another state of emergency was recently declared in northern Manitoba’s Pimicikamak Cree Nation, also known as Cross Lake.
The Attawapiskat First Nation is in a dire situation right now, as the suicide attempt rate is at an all-time high. Many of the residents are completely and totally at a loss as to what can be done, and that is why they have appealed to the Canadian government and hope that help can come their way soon.
[Photo by Spencer Wynn/Toronto Star via Getty Images]