Monday, December 21, 2009

Suicides turn focus on stricken north

Ontario will place special focus on the plight of First Nations children's aid societies when the province reviews the laws that govern child welfare, youth justice and adoption practices next year, the Star has learned.

Northern children's aid societies are in the midst of fighting a suicide epidemic while also going broke. In the last year, 13 teens living in the remote communities along the James and Hudson Bay coasts, and, throughout the isolated north have committed suicide – all by hanging. The youngest to die was 14.

Click here to read more>>

Connecting with Canada's Native youth

It's minus 40 degrees, with a frigid wind blowing across a northern reserve.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid is visiting, trying to get a handle on the massive social and economic woes that plague young people in our remote first nations communities.

Despite the bitter cold -- and on the only few square feet of usable ice -- a young kid is practicing shots on goal.

Duguid, who coaches kids' hockey, couldn't resist. He told the chief to stop the car, and he walked over to the boy.

"I just told him, grip his bottom hand a little tighter and take a shot now.

"He did and his shot was much better.

"He looked at me, big smile on his face, said thank you and off we went," Duguid recalls.

Click here to read more>>

Friday, December 18, 2009

High costs swamp children's aid societies in north

Tanya Talaga

MOOSONEE, Ont.–The children's aid society in Moosonee on the shores of James Bay is swamped by a teen suicide epidemic and it's penniless.

Money has always been a problem for children's aid societies serving First Nations communities, which face higher costs in remote areas of northern Ontario.

At Payukotayno, the executive director Ernest Beck issued pink slips to all 120 employees including himself, effective this week, as the agency struggled under a $2.3 million debt load that meant it could no longer afford to meet its payroll.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nipissing offers new bursaries for aboriginal students

Nipissing University's Office of Aboriginal Initiatives distributed more than $40,000 in new bursaries to 34 students in a special ceremony on December 16.

The Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Bursaries are part of the funding strategy outlined by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for First Nation, Inuit and Metis post-secondary students. The bursary is meant to provide financial assistance and to help increase participation and retention rates in post-secondary education

Click here to read more>>

Inuit Mental Wellness Action Plan A Tool For Arctic Regions

National Inuit Leader Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, called for increased support for culturally relevant mental wellness programs and recognition of communities as the best resources for addressing mental wellness, as part of the launch today of the Alianait Inuit Mental Wellness Action Plan.

“We all have a responsibility for mental wellness. This plan provides solutions that work for Inuit. If we are to build healthy communities, we must work together, building partnerships among families, elders, youth, governments, health organizations and Inuit organizations with the ultimate goal of empowering Inuit to take control of their health and well-being,” said Simon.

Click here to read more>>

National suicide policy pushed

Association prez optimistic


The Toronto Sun

The president of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention is optimistic the federal government will implement a national policy to help reduce the number of fatalities.

The "don't say, don't tell" rule of talking about suicides was tossed out the window Friday as the CASP met with Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to discuss the feasibility of a national strategy.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, December 14, 2009

2 Children's Aid Societies in N.Ont. get $4.4M lifeline, will stay open for now

December, 11, 2009 - 06:22 pm Maurino, Romina - (THE CANADIAN PRESS) TORONTO -

Two struggling Children's Aid Societies in northern Ontario will be able to keep their doors open for at least a few more months after getting $4.4 million in emergency funding.

The provincial government had been trying to find a way to keep the Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services office open after that office sent layoff notices to its 120 staff and warned it would close down next week unless it received operating funds.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dragging suicide from the shadows

Don't ask, don't tell.

That's how it has always been with suicides.

It stems from discomfort and out the fear that talking about suicide will drive copycats to harm themselves.

But some groups say that keeping quiet and ignoring the despair kills more people than the silence saves.

"There are many people who have thoughts of suicide, but don't act on it because they get the support that they need. And we could be saving a lot more lives if we were all working together and talking publicly about it," Tim Wall of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) recently told the Sun.

Click here to read more>>

Friday, November 27, 2009

Want a chance to win an iPod Touch and other great prizes?

The Honouring Life Network (HLN) is looking for those working with First Nations and/or Inuit youth to complete a survey for a new suicide prevention toolkit that is currently being developed as part of the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Each participant who completes the survey - which will take less than a half hour to complete - will be entered into a draw for an iPod Touch and other great prizes from the HLN!

There are four toolkits in total:

-First Nations (English)
-First Nations (French)
-Inuit (English)
-Inuit (Inuktitut)

You are only asked to complete the survey that is relevant to the demographic of youth that you work with. In other words, you do not have to complete all four surveys. If you speak English and work with First Nations youth, you are only asked to complete that ONE survey.

Your feedback is invaluable to advancing the health and well being of First Nations and Inuit youth in the area of suicide prevention. Please demonstrate your support by completing this survey.

To complete the survey(s), simply click on the corresponding link(s) below.

Click here to take the First Nations - English survey>>

Click here to take the First Nations - French survey>>

Click here to take the Inuit - English survey>>

Inuit - Inuktitut (coming soon)

Thank you,
The Honouring Life Network Team

Backing the people

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RANKIN INLET/KIVALLIQ - The Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) is taking the lead in trying to convince the federal government not to cut funding to the Aboriginal People's Program.

The KIA has been holding summer and winter youth camps through the program, as well as media training and other various cultural programs such as the highly successful Somebody's Daughter.

Click here to read more>>

Aboriginal-Rights Champion Cindy Blackstock Awarded Atkinson Fellowship

TORONTO, Nov. 23 - Cindy Blackstock has been awarded the Atkinson Foundation's Economic Justice Fellowship. The three-year Fellowship will provide $100,000 annually for Ms. Blackstock's advocacy on behalf of First Nations children and communities.

"With every generation comes an opportunity to create a better world. But First Nations children are debilitated by funding inequalities in education and child welfare. We can correct past mistakes by giving this generation a real opportunity to understand their place in the world differently and to succeed," said Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations child and Family Service Caring Society of Canada.

Click here to read more>>

Health : Inuit Health System Must Move Past Suicide Prevention To “Unlock A Better Reality,” Conference Told

November 25, 2009

Inuit communities have been dysfunctional for the past 30 to 50 years, with suicide now touching “each and every one of us,” but this must not be accepted as normal, attendees at the National Aboriginal Health Association conference in Ottawa were told yesterday.

“We all have brothers, sisters and friends who have died by suicide,” Natan Obed, director of social and cultural development for Nunavut Tunngavit Inc., which represents beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, told the opening session at the three-day conference. “But I contend that our people [in the past] had a low death by suicide rate. It is not our fate in life to be at risk.”

Click here to read more>>

Friday, November 20, 2009

Video game to be aimed at aboriginal youth

Posted 1 day ago

A Carleton University initiative is allowing First Nation youths to walk a virtual mile along the Path of the Elders.

Canadian Heritage has provided a $375,000 grant to the university and its partners to develop a website "that seeks to strengthen the identity and self-respect" of Native youths.

The goal is to develop a video game, with local software firm BlackCherry Digital Media, that engages and entertains youth while serving as an educational tool, providing a window into the rich history, culture and teachings that have been passed along for generations in the oral tradition.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NAHO Congratulates Role Models for their success at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards

Ottawa, ON - The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) is thrilled to congratulate 2008 National Aboriginal Role Model, Inez for winning four awards at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards (APCMA). Inez took home awards for Best New Artist, Best Pop CD, Best Album Cover Design and Single of the Year for her track Breathe.

“Inez is a rising star who we look forward to following as her future endeavours unfold,” says Dr. Paulette C. Tremblay, CEO of NAHO. “She received the honour of being recognized as a NAHO National Aboriginal Role Model in 2008 for her outstanding contributions to her community.”

Click here to read more>>

Concerns 9yo boy's death was suicide

A Central Australian youth service says it has received a report about the death of a nine-year-old boy at a remote Aboriginal community.

Northern Territory Police will not release any information on the matter because they say the death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Loss of global languages threatens culture, history: Language expert

By Allison Cross, Canwest News Service
November 3, 2009

When the last native speaker of an endangered language dies, does that language die with them?

Not necessarily, say academics, although there's a risk of losing significant ties to cultures, communities and collective histories.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hockey Greats Team Up For Aboriginal Kids

SAULT STE MARIE, ONTARIO, October 21, 2009 – Fifty Aboriginal children will today be the first to participate in a unique leadership camp, part of a five-year partnership announced between The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation and Ted Nolan Foundation.

The youths, some of whom have never left their native reserve, were selected from the Sault Ste. Marie First Nation to attend the five-day camp at the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation camp just north of Brantford. The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation has adapted its youth leadership program to cater specifically to Aboriginal youth.

Click here to read more>>

Hockey Greats Team Up For Aboriginal Kids

SAULT STE MARIE, ONTARIO, October 21, 2009 – Fifty Aboriginal children will today be the first to participate in a unique leadership camp, part of a five-year partnership announced between The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation and Ted Nolan Foundation.

The youths, some of whom have never left their native reserve, were selected from the Sault Ste. Marie First Nation to attend the five-day camp at the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation camp just north of Brantford. The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation has adapted its youth leadership program to cater specifically to Aboriginal youth.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Police Officer Wins International Award For Work With Aboriginal Youth

By Joan Delaney
Epoch Times Staff
An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer who “went beyond the call of normal duty” to help aboriginal youth on a remote reserve in northwestern Ontario has won an award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Sergeant Jeff Simpkins from the Aboriginal Policing Bureau received the award for his contribution to a unique OPP initiative designed to provide disadvantaged aboriginal youth with “a positive and culturally-relevant experience.”

Click here to read more>>

Former National Chief, Phil Fontaine, Accepts Position as National Spokesperson for the Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Program - River of Life

The Centre for Suicide Prevention (Calgary, Alberta) and Millbrook Technologies Inc. (Truro, Nova Scotia) are pleased to announce the acceptance of former National Chief Phil Fontaine as the national spokesperson for the River of Life, an online Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

Calgary, Alberta (PRWEB) October 15, 2009 -- The Centre for Suicide Prevention (Calgary, Alberta) and Millbrook Technologies Inc. (Truro, Nova Scotia) are pleased to announce the acceptance of former National Chief Phil Fontaine as the national spokesperson for the River of Life, an online Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Program.

Click here to read moer>>

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alberta, aboriginal groups to tackle education gaps

By Elise Stolte,

EDMONTON — Three provincial ministers and the heads of Alberta’s aboriginal communities formed a new partnership Tuesday to address gaps in aboriginal education.

Ministers Dave Hancock, Doug Horner and Gene Zwozdesky, along with eight members of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, signed a letter of agreement at Government House to establish a ministers’ council.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

School cash lags for Alberta's First Nations

By Sarah McGinnis, Calgary Herald

CALGARY - Efforts to combat dropout rates for aboriginal students has Alberta's education minister launching talks with Ottawa to boost education funding for First Nations youth.

The federal government is responsible for aboriginal students.

Alberta's First Nations communities either run their own schools or pay tuition to nearby public school boards to educate aboriginal students based on federal funding.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A love for learning


Today staff

Learning about building igloos, dog sledding and pounding seal fat, Good Shepherd School students got an inside look at the life of the Inuit when children's author Michael Kusugak spent the day in the school's library sharing his childhood stories and old tales his grandmother told him.

Kusugak, who grew up in Repulse Bay, N.W.T. (in a part of the territory that is now Nunavut), didn't have television, video games or even books when he was growing up but it was his grandma who first began to tell him stories as a small child.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

“It’s good that you appreciate those letters...”

I have been in an unusually terrible mood this week and haven't been shy to let everyone around aware of this. Today was no exception - I woke up in a bad mood. I was tired, angry, anxious, and annoyed. Many of these symptoms are in line with Borderline Personality Disorder (visit, for my story), but the yucky fall weather hasn't been helping either. Regardless, I've plowed through this week with the hope that tomorrow will be better than the last.

Today is the final day to submit a personal essay to the Youth Advisory Committee for the Honouring Life Network (HLN). The HLN is looking for First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth between the ages of 17-30 to contribute their experiences with suicide and/or mental illness. If selected, youth are asked to contribute to projects of the HLN and suicide prevention initiatives.

Until this afternoon I hadn't really looked at any of the essays. A part of me really didn't know what to expect from these essays. Would they be irrelevant? Inappropriate? Graphic? Upsetting? Suicide and mental illness are difficult subjects to discuss with a family member or friend, much less to openly share personal experiences with a complete stranger (or in this case, a national organization).

Twenty-six essays, five provinces and two territories later, I started to read some of the submissions.

What happened next is difficult to describe but can be captured in an e-mail I shared with a close friend:

Me: "I'm reading all of these essays for the HLN youth advisory committee and my goodness they're making me tear up. The strength of some of these youth is just so freakin' remarkable." (Yes, I said 'freakin'. I told you it was difficult to describe.)

Friend (who asked to remain nameless): "We work in an incredibly powerful system - complex and hard to interpret, navigate and change.  I spent part of my day yesterday listening to a group of people talk to me about having Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) disease – one with not long to live.  It's good that we get reminded, up front and personal why it is we chose to do this work.   It is often times thankless, lacks appreciation, formal acknowledgement, or recognition that we are making an impact.  It's good that you appreciate those letters." 


In this instance, I was reminded that I have the best job in the world. To the youth who shared their stories - thank you. Your strength, resilience, knowledge, and eagerness to talk about suicide and mental illness are absolutely astonishing. I am so proud to be a part of this project and I couldn't wipe this smile from my face if I tried.


For more information on the HLN Youth Advisory Committee please visit:


Monday, September 28, 2009

Seeing childhood suicide through the eyes of a survivor

The Labradorian

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.

This childhood taunt couldn't be further from the truth as children continue to be bullied and now the world of cyber bullying explodes into their lives.

"October 7, 2003 will always be the day that divides my life. Before that day my son Ryan was alive. A sweet, gentle and lanky thirteen year old fumbling his way through early adolescence and trying to establish his place in the often confusing and difficult social world of middle school. After that day my son would be gone forever, a death by suicide. Some would call it bullycide or even cyber bullycide. I just call it a huge hole in my heart that will never heal."

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

That’s right – I said it. Now deal with it.

*Meg's Note: This was a blog I wrote for the Faces of Mental Illness Campaign (Or Faces of Mental Wellness, in my opinion). Enjoy.

Faces of Mental Illness
La maladie mentale à visage découvert
Megan Schellenberg

Megan was one of the 54 people nominated to become a national Face of Mental Illness as part of MIAW.

She writes:

That’s right – I said it. Now deal with it.

People often ask why I have taken upon Aboriginal* youth suicide prevention as my passion in both my personal and professional life. Though there are many issues facing youth that I am sympathetic, passionate and informed about, I have dedicated myself to the issue of youth suicide prevention. This is not an easy issue to advocate for – it demands an honest, relentless and unforgiving approach, and there continues to be a limited amount of research, knowledge and dialogue surrounding the issue. Moreover, a conversation that is centered on these attributes has been difficult to ignite on a personal level, much less a national one.

As many friends, family members and colleagues know, mental illness and suicide has affected me on a very personal level. Aside from my own suicide attempts and self-harmful behaviours, I was recently diagnosed with Emotional Regulation Disorder (also known as Borderline Personality Disorder). This is marked by shifting emotions, maladaptive interpersonal relationships and a fear of abandonment (to name a few). While in my teenage years, I was diagnosed with depression and subsequently treated with anti-depressants. At my worst I was harming myself a few times a week and it would usually take the form of cutting or scratching. I made a half attempt to hide it, though I am not surprised that many noticed and didn’t say anything. Although I would self harm without the intent of suicide (similar to most who self-harm) the thought was never far from my mind.

Canadians know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 15 to 24. Even more concerning, it is the leading cause of death among First Nations and Inuit youth, with rates sitting between three and 11 times higher than the national average.

I consider myself lucky because I was able to get the help that I needed to move forward to live a happy and productive life and I am only 23 years of age. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for many of my First Nations, Inuit and Métis peers. Almost 80 per cent of people who attempt or complete suicide, suffer from a mental illness; but to date, there is very limited data on the number of First Nations, Inuit and Métis who suffer from mental illness. Additionally, the state of our current mental health care system, in which only 5 per cent of funding goes towards mental health research, combined with a lack of health care professionals working in Aboriginal communities means that many of these illnesses go undiagnosed.

Mental illness is linked to many of the problems that all youth deal with. This includes things like promiscuous sex (often resulting in unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted and blood-born infections), drug and alcohol addictions, homelessness, and suicide. Not surprisingly, these are the same problems that some First Nation, Inuit and Métis youth encounter on a day-to-day basis.

If we could recognize, diagnose and treat mental illness among youth, (especially First Nation youth where the aforementioned problems occur at higher rates than in non-Aboriginal youth) there is a strong possibility that these issues would be dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. I realize that I just attempted to oversimplify a very, very complex problem and I am quite aware that the solutions require a multifaceted, holistic approach to solve them; however, I don’t believe that this idea is so far fetched that it is unattainable during my lifetime.

In January, 2009 I was selected to sit on a youth advisory group for the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), which is working towards a national strategy to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. The MHCC is hopeful that it will bring mental illness, “Out of the shadows forever” as described by Commission Chair, Michael Kirby. I don’t advocate for this issue because I necessarily want to, but because I need to. Thankfully many people have been able to step out of this shadow – this darkness – in the hopes that it will inspire others to do the same. While it is still not easy for us to discuss mental illness and suicide under this blanket of fear, stigma and shame, we will end this silence and I move forward with a sense of empowerment that will only continue to grow.

*The term Aboriginal is used to encompass the First Nation, Inuit and Métis populations of Canada

Click here to visit the MIAW Web site>>

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Singers and musicians share inspirational music with students

Tue, 2009-09-22 12:21
News Release

Shy-Anne Hovorka, Nylin White, Missy Knott, and Chris Sutherland provided outstanding vocal performances at all 3 high schools for intermediate level and secondary level Rainy River District School Board students. These exceptionally talented performers are all healthy lifestyle artists who joined forces to do a Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Music Tour in support of youth and Mother Earth.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Seventh Fire GENERATION

By: Colleen Simard
In The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway, Anishinaabe elder Edward Benton-Banai writes about the Seven Fires prophecy of his people. It's a story that predates Canada's existence.

Each prophecy -- called a fire -- is a prediction for the future.

The fires predicted great migrations, sickness and struggles over thousands of years. But it was the final, seventh fire that predicted a new generation would rise up and try to turn things around.

Click here to read more>>

Friday, September 18, 2009

“Stories of the Night Sky” Project for First Nation, Metis and Inuit Youth aged 16 to 19

A call for First Nation, Métis and Inuit aged 16 to 19 to develop their media skills while preserving the age-old tradition of storytelling. If you are interested in or have experience in storytelling, if you enjoy new media and are willing to learn, then read on.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tobique First Nation residents launch suicide prevention strategy

By Robert LaFrance

On Thursday morning, Sept. 10, Tobique First Nation adults and grade five students from Mah-Sos School gathered in front of Maliseet Grocery to begin a walk down to the Wellness Centre and to take part in other activities underlining Tobique's effort toward suicide prevention.

Click here to read more>>

Breaking silence around suicide

By SHAWN BELL, SRJ Reporter 15.SEP.09

Suicide remains a major problem in the Northwest Territories, where suicide rates are regularly more than twice the national average.
For the health planner of the GNWT, much of the problem has to do with the stigma of suicide that keeps people from openly discussing the issue.
“Our goal this year is to have people not be afraid to talk about suicide,” said Sara Chorostkowski, health planner for mental health with the GNWT. “The message of our campaign is that it is important to talk about it; that is what is going to save a life.”

Click here to read more>>

Friday, September 11, 2009

Call for Youth Advisory Committee members

Are you concerned about the alarming rates of suicide among First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth in Canada? Are you between the ages of 17 and 30 and have experience with suicide prevention? Do you feel like you have something to contribute to Aboriginal youth suicide prevention? If so, the Honouring Life Network (HLN) wants to hear from you!

A program of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO), the HLN is actively recruiting First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth between the ages of 17 to 30 to be a part of the HLN Youth Advisory Committee.

The primary purpose of this committee is to contribute your personal or professional experience with suicide and/or suicide prevention towards the ongoing and upcoming initiatives of the HLN. Though suicide is often a difficult subject to discuss, it is an important issue that has affected many First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth across Canada.

Your opinions, thoughts, ideas, and initiatives are important when developing new programs and resources in suicide prevention. Moreover, the HLN believes that you – the youth – are able to provide some of the best guidance and contributions towards suicide prevention for yourself and your peers.

Click here for more information about the Committee>>

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The HLN launches suicide prevention video contest

OTTAWA, ON — In celebration of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Honouring Life Network (HLN), a project of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO), announced an exciting new contest for First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth.

The initiative, called the HLN Suicide Prevention Video Contest, is open to First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth between the ages of 17 to 30. Youth are encouraged to submit a short video to the HLN YouTube channel that represents their creative expressions, experiences, thoughts, and initiatives regarding suicide prevention and awareness. Video cameras are being provided by the HLN if youth are unable to supply their own equipment.

Click here for more>>

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Too many young lives cut short

Carol Goar


For most of his career, Bert Lauwers was an emergency room doctor in one of Ontario's busiest hospitals. He was the kind of physician anyone would want to encounter at a time of trauma: calm, efficient and conscientious.

But the more bodies he patched up, the more certain he became that the real job of a healer was to prevent needless deaths and injuries. "As an emergency doctor, it was the easiest thing in the world to address medical conditions and make the patient feel better," he said. "But when death is entangled with social factors, it becomes much more complicated."

Click here to read more>>

Monday, August 31, 2009

Metis health care providers to benefit from mental health care expertise of Providence Care and Queen's University

SUDBURY, ON, Aug. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is renewing its landmark agreement with Queen's University and leading health care provider Providence Care, which specializes in mental health.
The agreement expands the MNO's mental health resources, training and resource capacity across the province through a partnership with Kingston-based Providence Care and the Centre for Health Services and Research Policy at Queen's.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Letting Aboriginal Youth Shape Their Future

First published Aug 25, 2009
Glen Roberts [Bio] Vice President of Research and Development with Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN).

Over a decade ago, in response to fragmented and reactive programming, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) called for a national Aboriginal youth policy that would involve Aboriginal groups as equal partners.

Including Aboriginal youth in the development of policy that directly concerns their welfare was seen as the first step to their empowerment.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, August 24, 2009

Road to a remedy

Bernard Richard is on a road trip across New Brunswick that he hopes will eventually help improve the plight of the province's First Nations children.

Richard, the province's child and youth advocate, has been crisscrossing the province to speak with aboriginal chiefs and to study the state of child welfare on the province's 15 First Nations.
Click here to read more>>

Real Canada has bypassed the Inuit

By Colin Alexander, FreelanceAugust 24, 2009

The recent front-page picture of young boys sleeping outside in Iqaluit, and the accompanying story about homelessness in Nunavut, showed how bad things are for a growing underclass.

With the Inuit population doubling every 25 years, the Harper government's Northern Strategy is neither new for northern people, nor strategic.
Click here to read more>>

Friday, August 21, 2009

Access to primary health care in Resolute Bay, Nunavut

Health Council of Canada: Taking the Pulse

Even for Cathy Rose, Nursing Supervisor at the Resolute Bay Health Centre, minus 50 degrees Celsius is alarmingly cold. "We have every space heater going today (early February 2009) and the wind is coming in through all the cracks," she says. This is not a day to get out and exercise for the community members who are living with diabetes, although many of them do try to exercise on a daily basis, according to Cathy.

Click here to read more>>

Treat suicide epidemic among young as priority

Doug Cuthand, The StarPhoenix
Published: Friday, August 21, 2009

Prime Minister Harper is visiting the Arctic this week. The weekend preceding his visit, a photo was taken of two 10-year-old boys sleeping outside a local supermarket. It was 6:30 a.m. and one of the boys was wearing shorts.
Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wabun Youth gathering is changing lives


Trent Agawa of Brunswick House First Nation is feeling good about himself these days and he claims he owes much of that to his participation in workshops at the Third Annual Wabun Youth Gathering. He was one of many young First Nation people from the seven communities of Wabun Tribal Council who benefited from the gathering at the Elk Lake Eco Resource Centre in Elk Lake, July 20 to 31. The event which was hosted by Wabun Health services was dedicated to teachings and workshops dealing with survival skills, culture, tradition and suicide prevention.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New pathways for aboriginal youth needed

Community level involvement critical

By Glen Roberts, Edmonton JournalAugust 10, 2009

Over a decade ago, in response to fragmented and reactive programming, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) called for a national aboriginal youth policy that would involve aboriginal groups as equal partners.

Click here to read more>>

International Youth Day - August 12, 2009

International Youth Day - August 12, 2009

Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.

The United Nations General Assembly declared August 12 "International Youth Day" welcoming the mobilization of youth globally around a common issue and theme annually.

This International Youth Day 2009, as the world continues to feel the impact of the economic crisis, youth respond by looking for solutions under the theme "Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future".

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

‘That to me is what governance is all about’

The prepared text of the Governor General’s speech on hip-hop, young people and urban arts in Edmonton last week.

It is such a pleasure for me to be back in Edmonton to talk with you—some of our country’s most dynamic and visionary leaders—about building peace and solidarity in our communities.

I am happy to do so here at the second edition of the Global Youth Assembly, because I feel like I am in the company of old friends; friends who share with me a deep commitment to social justice and democratic engagement.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

**Meg's Note: The first two (winning) essays are regarding Aboriginal children and youth in Canada.

Write the Wrong is a high school essay competition where you were invited to submit essays on the topic of Childs’ Rights. Launched in January, the competition has spread across Canada, with entries from areas as far reaching as Halifax, Nova Scotia and Bowen Island, British Columbia.

If you are reading these words you have taken the first step in becoming part of the jhr community. jhr’s goal is to make everyone around the world fully aware of their rights. Creating Rights Awareness is the first and most necessary step to ending rights abuses. By mobilizing the media to spread human rights awareness, jhr informs people about their rights, empowering marginalized people to stand up, speak out, and protect themselves.
Click here to read more>>

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gathering helpful to Native youth

Suicide prevention one part of annual event
Posted By Xavier Kataquapit , For The Daily Press

ELK LAKE — Trent Agawa of Brunswick House First Nation is feeling good about himself these days. He claims he owes much of that to his participation in workshops at the third-annual Wabun Youth Gathering.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, July 27, 2009

Laurier student role model for native youth

Posted By MICHELLE RUBY, Expositor Staff

Laurier Brantford student Alicia Sayers will spend the next year travelling the country, acting as a role model for aboriginal youth.

The third-year journalism and contemporary studies student was chosen by the National Aboriginal Health Organization to be one of 12 role models.

Click here to read more>>

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vancouver Island's Shawn Atleo sworn in as national chief

By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist, with files from Canwest News Service

British Columbia's first national chief for more than three decades was sworn in yesterday to cheers, chanting and drumming at the Assembly of First Nations convention in Calgary and Shawn Atleo immediately called for unity after the hard-fought election.

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Nova Scotia native communities reel from high suicide rates

Eskasoni Band councillor Leroy Denny is hesitant to even talk about the subject.

There’s no question, it’s a highly sensitive one -- the Nova Scotia native community’s recent struggles with suicides and drug overdoses among its younger members.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Enjoy blogging? Feeling creative? The HLN wants to hear from you!

Do you like to blog? Would you like to contribute to the Honouring Life Network? We are looking for First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth (30 and under) to submit creative writing pieces that could be featured on the HLN’s Youth Corner and/or the HLN Newsfeed!

What does an HLN contributor do?

Although the HLN focuses on youth suicide prevention, we believe that any social or personal issue you are passionate about should be shared with your peers. If you do not enjoying blogging but believe that you have an important message, we also accept poems, stories, pieces of artwork, and short videos.

If you have creative writing experience, great! If you don’t, that’s okay too. We are more interested in your dedication and passion than anything else. Whether or not you want to be recognized for your work is up to you. If you would prefer to stay behind the scenes then you may withhold your name and it will not be published. Alternatively, if you want some recognition for your work by including your name, you may also include a photo of yourself!

How do you do it?

It’s easy. You can email submissions to where they will be reviewed by an HLN team member. If appropriate, it will be published in the Youth Corner on the HLN Web site. It is as easy as that!

If you have any further questions check out the Web site or give us a call 1-877-602-4445.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We must overcome suicide epidemic among aboriginal youth

**Editor's note: This is an article that was published on back in February, 2009. If I could rewrite this article, I would have avoided using the term "epidemic" in this article. In fact, everything that I publish (including the information published on the HLN) avoids describing Aboriginal youth suicide rates as an epidemic. Instead, I would describe this situation as a crisis.

By Megan Schellenberg

I recently met a man of aboriginal decent by the name of Arnold W. Thomas who was at a First Nations youth suicide-prevention conference in Saskatchewan. Mr. Thomas is a renowned public speaker, the CEO of his own company, and travels around North America and Europe to discuss the value of life and the triumph of overcoming an attempted suicide. When he was just 18 years old, he attempted suicide by bringing a hunting rifle to his chin and pulling the trigger. While he is now blind and has visible scars from the incident, he carries himself with confidence. The message he promotes is just as powerful—and rightly so.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Introducing the First Online Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Training Program

Calgary, Alberta (PRWEB) July 20, 2009 -- The Centre for Suicide Prevention in partnership with Millbrook Technologies, the Canadian Mental Health Association and Aboriginal Leadership across the country are pleased to present the first ever national culturally-based suicide prevention online training program. The program called River of Life is designed to enhance the capacity of First Nations to implement suicide intervention, prevention and postvention approaches.

Click here to read more>>

Child welfare's new champions

Published Monday July 20th, 2009
One of the most basic Canadian values is the belief that children should be given every opportunity to grow. This precept has informed public policy in health care, education and social development, and it was at the root of the Equal Opportunity reforms introduced by New Brunswick premier Louis J. Robichaud.
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AFN Resolution Fights Suicide

Thunder Bay, ON -- A resolution has been tabled to ensure First Nation Communities are well equipped to implement youth suicide prevention strategies based on cultural specific content. The resolution to adopt the River of Life National Online Suicide Prevention Certificate Course will be voted on at the upcoming Assembly of First Nations Annual General Meeting in Calgary on July 23rd. Click here to read more>>

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Nations child welfare services in N.B. to be studied

CBC News
A former federal Indian Affairs minister and a provincial court judge will head a committee exploring the state of child welfare services in New Brunswick's First Nations communities.

Former Fredericton MP Andy Scott and provincial court Judge Graydon Nicholas were named Thursday as co-chairmen of the committee.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Northern aboriginal suicide rate lower in Norway: researcher

CBC News
Research suggests suicide rates among the Sami, the indigenous peoples of Norway, are lower than among other northern aboriginal groups.

Anne Silviken, a psychologist with the Center for Sami Health Research in Norway, found the suicide rate among the Sami is about 19 per 100,000.

Click here to read more>>

Indian Residential School Survivor Committee Poised to Begin its Work

TRC Fully Equipped to Move Forward

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 15, 2009) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, today announced the establishment of an Indian Residential School Survivor Committee.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TOM FLETCHER: Self-government is good for you

What’s the rush to find a new, simplified way to reconcile aboriginal land claims in B.C.?

Dr. Perry Kendall, our articulate provincial health officer, offers some answers in the most detailed study of aboriginal health yet attempted here

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cyclist dreams of opening dialogue about suicide, depression

Posted 6 days ago

Ben Verboom, 20, has a dream.

He wants to get people talking about suicide and depression, and he's cycling across Canada to make that dream happen.
Click here to read more>>

Government of Canada Supports Aboriginal Youth in Cape Breton

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

ESKASONI, NS, June 26 /CNW/ - Representatives from the Government of Canada and the Eskasoni First Nation community joined today to celebrate the official opening of the Eskasoni Crisis and Referral Center. The project was developed by the Eskasoni First Nation, the largest Mi'kmaq community in Atlantic Canada. The 4-bed project provides on-site counselling services for Aboriginal youth at risk.

Click here to read more>>

Molina Healthcare honors unsung heroes

By Staff reports

Story Published: Jun 18, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Molina Healthcare of New Mexico recently recognized eight unsung heroes at its first Community Champions Awards, including Doreen Smith, a college student from Laguna Pueblo.

Smith, a student at New Mexico State University, received the Outstanding Student/Youth Award for her work as a youth spokesperson who presents on teen suicide on a local, national and international level. As a Native American, it is a topic close to her heart because of the disproportionally high rates of depression and suicide found in Native American teens.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

HLN hosts new media focus group

Last weekend, the Honouring Life Network (HLN) was invited to give a brief presentation on how new media and social networking has been imperative to the success of the program (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google) to a group of First Nations Inuit and Métis youth from across Canada. Jumping on this opportunity, I recognized that I had the chance to engage these youth in a focus group for an upcoming project of mine (that I am really excited about). This pilot project will involve the development of a dynamic, new media tool that hopes to include; interviews with youth and community members; an interactive tool that addresses healthy lifestyle choices; and supplementary information on youth suicide prevention in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

On the day of the event, the turn-out didn't seem like it would be overly promising due to some miscommunication and flight delays. Fortunately, my colleague had organized a meeting beforehand with some very enthusiastic youth who wanted to participate in the discussion (albeit they were hungry and there was free pizza, but hey, I'll take it!). In total, I had eight youth participate in the focus group from across the country.

I first asked if they knew of any Aboriginal-specific programs that addressed suicide prevention amongst youth in their communities. The response was a unanimous, "No" which (unfortunately) really didn't come as much of a surprise. A few participants said they knew of non-Aboriginal specific programs, which didn't surprise me either. The reality is that we– both Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals– have been really slow in implementing suicide prevention programs that can meet the needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth.

It was when I began asking about the use of new media in suicide prevention that ideas and opinions started to flow. I heard about the benefits and challenges of using new media technologies in remote and urban communities, in which there are many. I also heard about where they are getting their health-related information, and I must admit that some of their responses were very surprising (even as a youth myself). All in all, the focus group was successful and I was able to get a lot of valuable feedback for this project.

Aside from all the project-related information that I took away from this session, I was overwhelmed with the capacity in which my peers are ready to take on these mediums of communication. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have the ability to reach First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth at unprecedented proportions. As consumers, are constantly overloaded with pessimistic statistics and cynical stories coming from mainstream media about this demographic, but it is through these tools that Aboriginal youth are using their voice to gain strength and take back their right to be heard. That in itself makes me excited about our ability to overcome Aboriginal youth suicide using a collective, influential and positive voice...even if it is only 140 characters at a time.



UNICEF Canada Report on Aboriginal Children's Health Shows Disparities Between Aboriginal Children and National Averages...

UNICEF Canada Report on Aboriginal Children's Health Shows Disparities Between Aboriginal Children and National Averages a Major Children's Right Challenge

Health of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Children Well Below National Averages

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 24, 2009) - UNICEF Canada is marking the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the release today of a report called Aboriginal Children's Health: Leaving No Child Behind- the Canadian Supplement to State of the World's Children 2009.

Click here to read more>>

A burden of poor health: Report focuses on health of aboriginal children in Canada

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Monday, July 6, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A national report has focused a light on the disturbing state of health among aboriginal children across Canada.

However, the report's findings do not come as a shock in the NWT

Click here to read more>>

Prince Rupert Pilot Engages At-risk, Vulnerable Youth

For Immediate Release
July 3, 2009

Ministry of Children and Family Development
PRINCE RUPERT – A community-based crime prevention pilot program designed to support local youth at-risk of – or engaged in – criminal behaviour is being launched today at the grand opening of a newly created youth hub, announced Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak.
Click here to read more>>

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Training Simulation Increases Faculty Skill in Identifying Students who are At-Risk for Suicide

Results from a national study conducted in 42 leading universities in the U.S. revealed thatAt-Risk, a web-based, interactive training simulation that uses educational gaming technology,increases the willingness and skill of faculty and staff to identify and refer students exhibitingsings of mental distress, such as depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. Read more by clicking here

'This Is How They Tortured Me'

Jacqueline Windh and Alfred Hendricks
July 6, 2009Most of us know there was a time in Canada when aboriginal children where taken from their homes, their families and communities, and forced to attend residential schools.

Click here to read more>>

Amid the grim statistics, a journey of change begins

Justine Hunter

Maggie Chorney was sitting in a pronounced slouch, text-messaging someone throughout a brief interview. She didn't need to use her words to communicate how little she wanted to answers questions about her future.

Click here to read more>>

'She had a million-dollar smile'

By: Bruce Owen and Arielle Godbout

WINNIPEG — Cherisse Houle tried to turn her life around, but in the end some fear the ways of the street may have caught up to her, adding her name and face to the long list of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Manitoba.

The RCMP said Friday the body of a woman found Thursday in the Rural Municipality of Rosser by a backhoe operator had been identified as Houle. The 17-year-old had been reported missing to Winnipeg police on June 26

Click here to read more>>

Friday, July 3, 2009

Poverty And Cultural Loss Are Some Of The Essential Causes Of The Health Gap Between Indigenous And Non-Indigenous People

Written by Stephanie Brunner (B.A.)

The second of two reviews in this week´s The Lancet discusses the primary origins of the health gap. In an effort to understand these inequalities, the authors attempt to give an Indigenous perspective

Click here to read more>>

The not-so-hidden history of Canada

Melissa Chungfat

Yesterday I went to check out some of the Canada Day events with a friend on Granville Island and in downtown. As we do every year, we wore our crazy Canada hats attracting attention among locals and tourists.

Towards the end of the day, we passed a man who wished us a “happy Native oppression day.” I replied, “I agree with you.”

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Palm Island after the inquest into an death in custody
Chloe Hooper

In video recordings of Cameron Doomadgee's funeral, hundreds of Palm Islanders walk with his coffin on the narrow road from the island's Catholic church to the cemetery. The journey is several kilometres and the sun blisteringly hot. At the front of the procession is Doomadgee's 15-year-old son, Eric, small for his age, holding a white wooden cross to place on his father's grave.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Canadian streets, prisons `the asylums of the 21st century,' former senator warns

By Pamela Cowan, Canwest News Service

Former Liberal senator Michael Kirby is lashing out at this country for the way it has cared for its mentally ill.

Kirby says health officials closed insane asylums across the country after deciding that institutionalizing or ``warehousing'' people was the wrong approach - promising instead to create community-based beds for the mentally ill.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

National suicide rates for First Nations youths

Leader-PostJune 24, 2009 10:01 AM

National suicide rates for First Nations youths:

The First Nations suicide rate among youths, 10 to 19 years, was 4.3 times greater than for other Canadians in 2000.

There were 28.2 suicides per 100,000 First Nations people while the suicide rate for non First Nations youth was 6.5 deaths per 100,000.

In 2000, the overall suicide rate among the First Nations population was 24.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

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Parents struggle with the loss of their children

By Pamela Cowan, Leader-Post
LA LOCHE — For Joanne Janvier, the loss came just as her grandfather had predicted.

"I used to bring him flowers when I was a little girl," the La Loche resident says. "One day, I was playing out in the sand and he called me in and I sat beside his bedside and he said, 'That flower that you brought me today — you think it's beautiful?' And I said, 'It's pretty.'
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Communities struggle to break the cycle of suicide

By Pamela Cowan, Leader-Post

LA LOCHE — Father John Zunti performs 100 baptisms a year in La Loche, and every time he does so, he celebrates new life. But he is no stranger to death, either — the premature deaths among this community's young people.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

rebel youth magazine: Not a token day: National Aboriginal Day, June 21st, summer solstice

rebel youth magazine: Not a token day: National Aboriginal Day, June 21st, summer solstice

Holistic healing touch works best

Lynnette Hoffman

Aboriginal communities are shaping their own path to mental health, building on traditional cultural values

ONCE ominously referred to as the suicide capital of Australia, the tiny indigenous community of Yarrabah in far north Queensland had hit crisis mode when residents decided to take matters into their own hands.
Click here to read more>>

Pilot project to hire 'commitment coaches' for at-risk aboriginal youth

By Cigdem Iltan, Edmonton Journal
At-risk aboriginal students at three Edmonton junior high schools will have better access to resources to help them deal with problems after a$207,000 grant from the province, Alberta Education Minister Dave Hancock announced Thursday at a preview celebration of National Aboriginal Day on Thursday.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Aboriginal Day Celebrates Culture but Poverty and Frustration Remain

By Matthew Little

This Sunday Canada will mark National Aboriginal Day and celebrate the cultures of our First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. But that celebration will be tinted by the bitter reality facing Canada's founding peoples and the ongoing frustrations that some Aboriginal leaders predict will lead to confrontations down the road.

Click here to read more>>

Parents Against Drugs organize walk this weekend

By TERA CAMUS Capre Breton Bureau
SYDNEY — A community walk to protest the use of drugs will be held in Wagmatcook this weekend.

Eskasoni RCMP Cst. Duma Bernard urged 300 members of Parents against Drugs on Wednesday to get involved with the First Nation community’s walk that begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. It starts at a local gas station, travels along Highway 105 before ending at the Cultural Center where a barbeque will take place.

Click here to read more>>

First flu, now teen's death in holding cell

By: Mary Agnes Welch
ONE of the remote First Nation reserves grappling with the H1N1 flu outbreak is also coping with the suicide of a teenager who died while in police custody.Calvin Waylon McDougall, 19, was found dead May 7 in a cell at the Garden Hill police station. The death was never made public.

His family says McDougall used a strip of blanket tied to a doorknob in the holding cell to hang himself.

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Residential-school syndrome is Canada's shameful legacy

Robert Laboucane
Troy Media Corp.

The ill-fated residential school system is not an easy topic to explain -- the details are often horrific and the logic behind its implementation seriously flawed.

But while many factors come into play to explain why Canadian Aboriginal people are where they are today, it is one of the key factors that has devastated its people, communities, governance, spirituality, cultures and languages.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NAHO Announces Celebration of the 2009-2010 National Aboriginal Role Models

OTTAWA, ON – Get to know this year’s National Aboriginal Role Models with an evening of cultural sights and sounds June 20, 2009 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) will hold the inauguration for the 12 2009-2010 Role Models in the museum’s Grand Hall in Gatineau, Quebec.

Commemorating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year, the National Aboriginal Role Model Program celebrates the accomplishments of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth aged 13 to 30. Role models are recognized for their innovation, achievement and leadership. Throughout the year, they will visit First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to share their stories with other First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth.

Date: Saturday, June 20, 2009.
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Grand Hall at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.

The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) is an Aboriginal nonprofit organization that advances the health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, families and communities.

For more information on the National Aboriginal Role Model Program, visit

For media inquiries, contact:
Colleen Patterson, Communications Officer
Tel: (613) 237-9462 ext. 559 / Toll Free: 1-877-602-4445 ext. 559
Cell: (613) 863-9001 / E-mail:

The Aboriginal Achievement Program

Antoine Mountain
Guest columnist

Friends ... Once again my thoughts turn to the question of education.

The last time around I said our students of today need whatever extra monies are available to make a real go of doing as well as possible - learning for the future.

I do hope that our present leaders can see their way to re-instating the grants available for the North's future, its students, today's undergrads.One of the present and more pressing problems still has to do with the low number of our native high school graduates here.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Suicide Prevention Underway In Northern Manitoba

Submitted by ruzik_tuzik

New initiatives to enhance suicide prevention activities in the north are now being implemented, Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Steve Ashton announced here today.

“Last fall, we announced a comprehensive strategy to prevent youth suicide, improve access to mental-health care and provide hope and opportunity to young people,” said Irvin-Ross. “Today, we’re getting a number of the strategy’s initiatives underway to reach out to youth across the north.”
Click here to read more>>

Changing perceptions

North Bay Nugget

A University of Toronto professor is trying to change the public's perception of aboriginal Canada one student at a time.

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, from Georgina Island First Nation in Lake Simcoe, hopes a series of road trips involving native and non-native students will give them a more realistic picture of what life is for aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Click here to read more>>

Friday, June 12, 2009

Canada Marks First Anniversary of Historic Apology

By Matthew Little
The Epoch Times

OTTAWA, Canada—One year ago Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in Canada's House of Commons and issued a historic apology to Canada's First Nations people for their suffering in the residential school program. On Thursday, the anniversary of the historic apology was marked with a first ever National Day of Reconciliation. Aboriginal people and others from all walks of life came together on Parliament Hill to mark the occasion.

Click here to read more>>

Alberta First Nation to open centre for at-risk youth

By Gwendolyn Richards, Calgary Herald

CALGARY - A new in-patient treatment centre for aboriginal youth dealing with mental health and addiction issues is set to open next month on the Siksika Nation--one of several initiatives taken on by nation leaders following a cluster of youth suicides more than three years ago.

Click here to read more>>

Alberta judge says schools should use World Suicide Prevention Day to teach youth

Published Thursday June 11th, 2009
Shannon Montgomery, THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY - In the days before she hanged herself from a beam in the basement of her third foster home, a 15-year-old southern Alberta girl told her sisters and ex-boyfriend that life was no longer worth living.

She held a sharp blade to her wrists and said she "couldn't take it anymore," and later said her death would happen when no one was around to stop her, according to a fatality inquiry report made public Thursday.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Manitoba introduces residential school curriculum

by: Rick Garrick/Wawatay News
Manitoba is developing residential school curriculum, including classroom resources which feature personal interviews with survivors, for Grades 9 and 11.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Muslim group donates food to impoverished First Nation

By: Kevin Rollason

A Winnipeg-based Muslim foundation, moved by news of the death of a Garden Hill First Nation baby, has flown a load of food to the remote reserve.

Last night, the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation, created in 2007, flew 450 loaves of bread from City Bread and 240 pounds of chicken bought at a discount from the Clearview Colony to Garden Hill.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Seal of approval

Europeans response to GG is what's 'too bizarre to acknowledge'

I'm tired of snobby Europeans scolding Canadians for our supposed brutality to baby seals.

And I'm thrilled that Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean stood up to those prissy critics when she chowed down on seal heart in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, this week

Click here to read more>>

Rock art inspires aboriginal art therapy business

Last Updated: Monday, June 1, 2009
Tina Faiz CBC News

A spontaneous side trip to the historic Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, 45 minutes southeast of Lethbridge, Alta., became the source of inspiration for Jean Tait's art therapy business.

Jean Tait at her studio in Spruce Grove, Alta., in early May. (Tina Faiz/CBC)Tait, an Edmonton-based aboriginal water-colour artist, was inspired by the thousands of petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) that cover the ancient sandstone cliffs in the park, known as Áísínai'pi in Blackfoot. It is the largest collection of native rock art in North America.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, June 8, 2009

Facebook users urged to say 'sorry' for residential schools

By: Arielle Godbout
Winnipeg Free Press

Justin Jaron Lewis is changing his Facebook status to "is sorry" on June 11, and he wants others to join him as he commemorates the first anniversary of the federal government's apology to residential school survivors.

Lewis, an assistant professor with the University of Manitoba's religion department, started a Facebook group whose members pledge to, once a year, use their status on the popular social-networking site as a reminder of the apology.

Click here to read more>>

Listening to Madness

By Alissa Quart | NEWSWEEK
Published May 2, 2009
From the magazine issue dated May 18, 2009

We don't want to be normal," Will Hall tells me. The 43-year-old has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and doctors have prescribed antipsychotic medication for him. But Hall would rather value his mentally extreme states than try to suppress them, so he doesn't take his meds. Instead, he practices yoga and avoids coffee and sugar. He is delicate and thin, with dark plum polish on his fingernails and black fashion sneakers on his feet, his half Native American ancestry evident in his dark hair and dark eyes.

Click here to read more of this article>>

Prince vows to do more to promote awards program in North

CALGARY — From Monday's Globe and Mail, Monday, Jun. 08, 2009 04:11AM EDT

Geraldine Van Bibber has seen many of the troubles that plague young people in the North.

But after a meeting yesterday with Prince Edward, the Commissioner of the Yukon is optimistic that an expansion of an international awards program sponsored by the Royal Family may give residents, particularly aboriginal youngsters, new goals and dreams.

Click here to read more>>

Reaching out for help as Australian suicides fall

By John Stewart for Lateline
During the past decade the suicide rate among young Australians has almost halved.

It is an extraordinary public health achievement, but one which has received little publicity.

Experts say a massive public education campaign and improvement in the treatment of depression are the key reasons for the success.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Regional youth conference makes stop at G.P. Vanier

Susan Thompson
for Express

Youth from around the region congregated at Georges P. Vanier school on May 27 as part of a five-day regional youth conference.

Students from Ecole Heritage, Ecole Providence, and G.P. Vanier gathered in the Vanier gym to hear speaker Troy Payne talk about how to overcome adversity. They also enjoyed an energetic performance by aboriginal hip hop group the Red Power Squad.

Click here to read more>>

Monday, June 1, 2009

2009 Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under Five Committee released

TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - Dr. Bert Lauwers, Deputy Chief Coroner for Investigations and Chair, today announced the release of the combined 2009 Report of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and the Deaths Under Five Committee.
Working under the leadership of the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, the purpose of the Paediatric Death Review Committee and the Deaths Under Five Committee is to assist the Office of the Chief Coroner in the investigation and review of deaths of children and to make recommendations to help prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

Click here to read more>>

SCDSB Hosts Celebration of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Cultures

On June 2, the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) will be hosting a celebration of First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures.

What: Celebration of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Cultures
Where: SCDSB Education Centre, Midhurst
When: Tuesday, June 2, 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Click here for more information>>

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mercredi urges them to step up Rallying cry issued to native men

By: Geoff Kirbyson
Winnipeg Free Press

Ovide Mercredi echoed Barack Obama Tuesday morning as he joined a multi-pronged attack on poverty in Manitoba.
The chief of Misipawistik Cree Nation and former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations and said systemic poverty for aboriginal people has to be overcome and he challenged aboriginal men to step up and assume the role of provider for women and children.

Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Suicide everyone's problem

Winnipeg Free Press

In response to the letter by Val Thom on aboriginal suicide (First Nations to blame? May 23) I agree that First Nations people must take responsibility for our community and its problems. We are the ones to fix them. However, suicide is at an epidemic stage on many reserves, and there seems to be no solution. What causes suicide in aboriginal communities?

Click here to read more>>

Are native suicides really linked to a weak sense of identity?


The editorial, Root causes of suicide by children (May 21), posits that greater cultural identity is the answer to preventing aboriginal suicides. Prof. Michael Chandler is presented as a titular authority on the subject and has evidently conducted research of B.C. reserves. There is generally a troubling sureness in the editorial, a degree of certainty that verges on dismissiveness.

Contrary to intuition, Chandler found that "levels of poverty, location of reserve, number of children in care, unemployment rate and family structure -- are not reliable predictors of a community's suicide rate." A lot of us, I would assume, think reserves are inherently depressing and dysfunctional enough to prompt suicidal ideation. Noticeably absent from Chandler's list are the chronic social pathologies associated with remote reserves like Shamattawa.

Click here to read more>>

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Editorial - Root causes of suicide by children

The governmental response to the suicide problem at Manitoba's Shamattawa First Nation is classic, it would seem, in its form and predictable in its effect. The media storm that erupted in 2002 from a cluster of suicides and attempted suicides at the northern, isolated community, embarrassed governments to throw cash at the problem.

It was also a temporary "fix" and today children there continue to kill themselves. The $100,000 the federal and provincial governments earmarked, in the aftermath of the 2002 crisis, for prevention and healing at Shamattawa has been spent and the programs closed; there's been little else heard out of Ottawa since.

Manitobans need to deal with aboriginal youths' sense of hopelessness

WINNIPEG — Manitobans need to work to address the entrenched sense of hopelessness that leads many aboriginal youth to suicide, a local researcher says.

Dr. Catherine Cook, executive director of Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s aboriginal health programs, said many First Nations communities are isolated and lack proper health infrastructure to deal with youth suicide. Cook said youth feel hopeless, and there is often no support for them in their communities.

"If aboriginal youth don’t see any hope for the future, supports in their communities, how are they possibly going to achieve their dreams?" Cook said.

Click here to read more>>

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Former Governor shares hope for learning

Posted By Dave Sykes

James Bartleman has seen first hand the desperation and despair among Canada’s First Nations peoples, especially the young, and watched helplessly as entirely dysfunctional native communities self destructed.

Fighting racism, discrimination and promoting literacy among the First Nations children became one of the priorities and initiatives of the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and for the past several years he has devoted his personal efforts to supporting and rebuilding native communities through its youth.
Click here for more information>>

Manitoba First Nations fighting wave of child suicides

By Mary Agnes Welch, Winnipeg Free PressMay 19, 2009

WINNIPEG — Two Manitoba First Nations are struggling with a plague of child suicides, prompting alarmed community leaders to beg the federal government for help.

Three children have committed suicide in Pukatawagan, about 820 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, in recent months. Many more children in the remote community have tried unsuccessfully to kill themselves.

Manitoba's Children's Advocate, Billie Schibler, said two children from the chronically troubled Shamattawa First Nation, 740 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, have also taken their lives this year.
Click here to read more>>

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On reserves, kids killing selves

Three children have committed suicide in Pukatawagan in recent months and many more have tried, prompting the northwestern Manitoba First Nation community to beg Ottawa for help.
Provincial Children's Advocate Billie Schibler said two children from the chronically troubled reserve of Shamattawa on the other side of the province have also taken their lives so far this year.

That's despite pledges by the federal and provincial governments to get serious about the issue of aboriginal suicide.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Mental Health Week, May 4-10

Honouring Life Network: Resource Centre
This site allows those working with Aboriginal youth to connect, discuss and share suicide prevention resources and strategies. The site’s directory of suicide prevention resources will be updated on a regular basis with the hopes of providing Aboriginal communities with a comprehensive inventory of suicide prevention materials.
Source: Honouring Life Network

Aboriginal People/First Nations
Briefly describes the mental health problems of Aboriginal people. Presents facts and figures on Aboriginal communities and mental health. Includes links to organizations, on-line publications, and other resources about Aboriginal mental health and the healing movement.
Source: Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division (CMHA ON)

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nation of Lost Souls

Timmins - The last time Marcia Martel saw her mother at home, it was late summer and she was a chubby little Indian kid of 4. She doesn't remember much because she was crying and clutching the tall grass as strange people pulled her away. She was scared of the police and didn't understand why she was being taken from Beaverhouse First Nation on Lake Misema in northeastern Ontario...
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