Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Indigenous Affairs Minister to Visit First Nation Dealing with Suicide Crisis

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Indigenous Affairs Minister to Visit First Nation Dealing with Suicide Crisis

Article excerpt

Bennett and Angus to visit Attawapiskat

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ATTAWAPISKAT, Ont. - The chief of a remote First Nation says he hopes a planned meeting with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will be the beginning of real change for Attawapiskat.

Increasing suicide attempts by youth in the community on James Bay prompted the northern Ontario First Nation to declare a state of emergency on April 9.

And Chief Bruce Shisheesh says five more young people attempted to take their lives last Friday evening.

Bennett and local MP Charlie Angus -- the NDP critic for aboriginal affairs -- are to visit the fly-in community today.

In declaring the emergency, Attawapiskat cited 11 suicide attempts in the month of April and 28 recorded attempts in March.

A few days later, officials thwarted what they called a suicide pact by 13 young aboriginal people, including a nine-year-old.

Angus calls the situation in the community "very volatile."

"We are hoping to find a way to get the page turned so we can start to build something positive with the young," Angus said Saturday in an email. …

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