A local MP has gotten a first hand look at the multi-generational trauma affecting Indigenous youth in urban and rural communities.
Hasting Lennox and Addington MP Mike Bossio is part of the Standing Committee for Indigenous and Northern Affairs that has wrapped up a four day visit to East Vancouver and Ontario’s Sioux Lookout. Bossio and a group of five fellow MPs have been gathering evidence and witness testimony to support its study, “Suicide Among Indigenous Peoples and Communities”.
The study comes in response to the epidemic of self-harm occurring in indigenous communities. Earlier this year, there were a spate of suicide attempts in the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat causing the chief and council to declare a state of emergency.
Over the past month, communities in Saskatchewan have been reeling after six young girls between the ages of 10 and 14 took their own lives.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said while its executive has not received direction to support a call for a state of emergency, it has started planning for a youth suicide prevention gathering to develop a First Nation-driven response to trauma faced by the communities.
Bossio tells Quinte News it’s been a gut, heart-wrenching experience listening to those sharing their personal experiences with trauma in East Vancouver and Sioux Lookout.
The study will continue as the group aims to draft a bill that works to establish long term stable funding to enable indigenous community driven priorities and programs.
Bossio explained they are hoping to have this study completed with recommendations coming to the House of Commons by early March.