A northern Manitoba community in crisis, according to its leader, is now declaring a state of emergency.
Chief Shirley Ducharme of the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation, also known as South Indian Lake, says a string of recent deaths in the community, caused by substance abuse and mental health issues, obliges to make the declaration.
“We deal with emergencies and tragedies here on a daily basis, it seems,” Ducharme said. “Our people are dying and as leaders we have to do something. Today, I’m calling for help with crisis supports to help our community heal,”
The community is still reeling from the death of Noreen Tait last month, who RCMP say was the victim of a homicide.
The Chief asked AMC to propose a process to design, develop and implement a community action plan to meet the immediate, medium and long-term needs of the community.
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The MKO has also deployed its Mobile Crisis Response Team to assist the community, which works with families who have experienced trauma.
Ducharme appealed to the federal and provincial governments for immediate support.
A federal government spokesperson told Global News: “Indigenous Services Canada funds a number of community supports, including two mental health therapists providing weekly counseling on a rotating basis from Monday to Friday.
The chief also says residents sometimes wait up to six months for treatment before an appointment becomes available in the community.
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