The chief of a northern Ontario First Nation says he hopes a meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will be the beginning of real change for his community.
An alarming rise in suicide attempts by youth in Attawapiskat prompted Chief Bruce Shisheesh and the community’s council to declare a state of emergency on April 9th. At that time there were 11 recorded attempts in April and there had been 28 suicide attempts documented in March. Officials said early last week that they were able to break up a suicide pact involving 13 young people, including a nine-year-old.
Shisheesh says five more young people attempted to take their lives this past Friday night.
Bennett and local New Democrat MP Charlie Angus are to visit the fly-in community on Monday.
Meanwhile, Indigenous and Northern Affairs offices in Toronto and Winnipeg are expected to re-open even though protesters continue to occupy the two locations. A department email said they anticipated getting back to business Monday.
Protesters took over the facilities last week demanding action on the youth suicide crisis in Attawapiskat and Cross Lake in Manitoba, asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with young people both in those communities and in others.