Suicides of two 12-year-olds highlight need for federal action: grand chief

The Canadian Press
Published on January 11, 2017

OTTAWA — Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is calling for a national suicide strategy following the deaths of two 12-year-old girls from a remote First Nation in northern Ontario.

Wapekeka First Nation, a tiny community of about 360 people, is located 600 kilometres due north of Thunder Bay.

Fiddler, whose organization represents 49 Ontario First Nation communities, wants to see the federal government and the province develop an emergency plan to address community concerns.

He made the same call last January, recommending a special response team to address grave suicide concerns in other remote indigenous communities, such as Attawapiskat First Nation.

Fiddler says other young people are being flown out of the community due to concerns about their mental health.

Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has yet to issue any public comments about the suicides in Wapekeka.

The Canadian Press