03.10.2016 08:04 AM

State dinners are nice

…but this is much more important, actually. The terrible situation at Pimicikamak needs the attention of the federal government – fully – right now.

CROSS LAKE, Man. — A remote Manitoba First Nation declared a state of emergency Wednesday after six suicides in the last two months and 140 attempts in the last two weeks alone.

Officials from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, known as Cross Lake, say health workers on the northern reserve can no longer cope. Band councillor Donnie McKay said the nursing station is only staffed by two nurses overnight.

“They’re going 24 hours and they’re ready to drop.”The community of 8,300 is traumatized and needs immediate help from the provincial and federal governments, McKay said. A meeting with Manitoba Health Minister Sharon Blady last month resulted in one mental-health worker being sent to the community for an eight-hour shift, he said.

“It’s ridiculous,” said McKay, who was called by distraught family members to a home a few days ago to talk a man out of taking his own life. “This wouldn’t happen anywhere else.”


  1. Aongasha says:

    There are no self-aggrandizing selfies to be taken at Pimicikamak. And what PM, cabinet minister or toadie wants to be up there with all that misery, when they can be looking important in Washington. Stunned Daze indeed!

    • Ron says:

      Hey, sorry I’m late seeing this but I don’t remember any stage managed ‘announcements’ with Action Plan backdrops
      being televised from Pimicikamak. Perhaps Deputy Prime Minster Novak put the nix on it ?

  2. R News says:

    But what about….More Syrians!

  3. PJH says:

    There will be plenty of money and support for the 305,000 immigrants John McCallum hopes to see enter Canada this year, however. We need immigrants, I get that, and we should be doing everything we can to assist them. But shouldn’t we be doing all we can for of our First Nations, (many of whom have endured sub-standard housing, unpotable water, and extreme unemployment for far too long), as well?

  4. Jack D says:

    The mention of the State Dinner is a bit unfair. The PM going to DC doesn’t diminish the crisis going on in Manitoba nor does it imply indifference on the part of Trudeau. Just because our head of state has gone abroad doesn’t mean the function of government ceases. I’m positive the necessary authorities and departments are looking at this issue closely.

    But lets talk about this particular community and its situation. Its not secret that northern Canadian communities are plagued by suicide rates much higher than the national average. This can be attributed to decades of insufficient attention by all level of governments. This problem didn’t pop up over night, its been going on for a while and its why we really need to re-design our relationship with FN groups across Canada to direct resources in a more effective matter. Its a process thats finally begun, no thanks to the Harper Conservatives.

    Also, the Manitoba government has some explaining to do on this situation seeing as they’ve known for sometime now in addition to the Minister of Health being notified. Being the first point of contact, the provincial government’s response seems to be woefully inadequate. Resources should have been allocated by the Manitoba government on an emergency basis. This is going to be a sore spot for the MB NDP who are looking to get re-elected after over a decade in power.

  5. Pipes says:

    My daughter taught on reserves in the far north for the last 5 years and its a mess and its complicated-very complex. One thing they could do is have Education on the reserve under the purview of each Provincial Government, including salaries and benefits. This will allow them to competitive and to retain good teachers.
    The Feds control Education funding and the Bands implement it. They teach the Provincial Curriculum but deliver their own model. They are on a perpetual teacher hiring cycle. No one stays, the pay is low, the benefits are low, the cost of living is high and sadly there are never ending allegations of financial abuse. She dealt with suicides and hopelessness and a continuous regressive downward spiral of kids who won’t get out of high school, who abuse drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism and many decent kids really trying for a prosperity, but few go on to colleges and universities.

    My daughter started a track team. The team was doing extremely well. They managed to travel to Michigan for a track meet in their dollar store uniforms and flat sneakers. When they arrived the American kids had it all-great uniforms and top of the line shoes etc. That was kind a hard on the self esteem-assuming the kids had any to begin with. After that experience I got Adidas involved and they were very sympathetic and supportive. My daughter left the school to try another reserve, and as a consequence the track team died and one of her all star runners attempted suicide.

    I am sorry to say this, but it is an entire nation on the verge of collapse and as I write this another young native girl is missing in the Kenora/White Fish Bay area and my Search and Rescue friends who live there, are waiting for the call for a search area.

    Also every person I have spoken with who are FN on reserves-everyone one of them!-recall the horror of being in the Residential Schools and most of them are now either alcoholics or recovering. Many of these people struggle to get a better life but there is so much working against them.

    In some respects they do have a beautiful life and many are content with what they have but I find the hopelessness and despair of others to be overwhelming and heart breaking.

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