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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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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