Newspaper article The Canadian Press

First Nations Leaders Call Meeting with Trudeau a Sign of Change and Hope

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

First Nations Leaders Call Meeting with Trudeau a Sign of Change and Hope

Article excerpt

Trudeau meets with First Nations leaders

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FORT QU'APPELLE, Sask. - Cheering supporters greeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he arrived in Saskatchewan for what First Nations leaders described as a historic meeting that heralds a sign of change.

Trudeau held a private meeting Tuesday evening with the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council in Fort Qu'Appelle, about 75 kilometres northeast of Regina.

Trudeau said he's working on helping the relationship between First Nations people and the federal government.

"I don't want to pretend that any of us have the answers to the challenges facing indigenous peoples in Canada, but what I will tell you is that as a country, we can build those answers," Trudeau said after the meeting.

"We can not turn our collective back on the problems. It's not enough to be outraged by the headlines, the stories of heartbreak and hopelessness that come out of communities like La Loche, Attawapiskat and Natuashish and so many more."

The northern Saskatchewan village of La Loche was rocked Jan. 22 when a teenage boy allegedly shot and killed two brothers before going to the high school, where a teacher and a teacher's aide were killed and seven others wounded.

Trudeau visited the community a week after the shooting and promised that the federal government would be there for the people of La Loche for years to come.

Natuashish, an Innu community in Labrador, has been the scene of a massive search effort for a missing teenager while a state of emergency was declared on Ontario's Attawapiskat First Nation because of a string of suicide attempts among young people.

The prime minister did not make any new announcements in Fort Qu'Appelle on Tuesday, but noted the federal budget's announcement of investments in education, housing, health care facilities and clean drinking water.

He said the government is taking significant steps to renew the relationship in an open and respectful way and to take concrete actions.

File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council chairman Edmund Bellegarde said he believes Trudeau. …

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