Need for Governmental Action: Wapekeka First Nation

January 19, 2017: Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) called for a coordinated emergency response. Falconers LLP serves as counsel to Grand Chief Fiddler and NAN. This response demands the federal and provincial governments to take action, following the tragic suicides of 12-year-olds Jolynn Winter, and Chantel Fox of Wapakeka First Nation on January 8, and January 10, 2017 respectively.

Several leaders of Ontario First Nations were in Ottawa on Thursday, where they held a press conference on Parliament Hill.  Grand Chief Fiddler stated, “the question our community is asking today: When is it the right time for this government to act and support our communities, especially for our youth and our children?”

Health Canada said it received a funding proposal from Wapekeka First Nation a tiny fly-in community 600 kilometers north of Thunder Bay in September, though the proposal was dated for July 18. Health Canada stated that it was an “awkward time” for budgetary purposes.  The community had requested funding to establish counseling sessions for young people.  Four girls in crisis have been flown out of Wapekeka, and 26 more students are considered “high risk” for suicide because of the loss and trauma of others.

In The News

Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from Grand Chief Fiddler   NAN, January 17, 2017

Anonymous donor gives $380,000 to remote First Nation for suicide prevention   The Globe and Mail, January 25, 2017

Anonymous donor pledges $380K for suicide prevention plan in Wapekeka First Nation after 2 girls die   CBC, January 25, 2017

Private donor steps in to help Wapekeka First Nation after Health Canada refused   Toronto Star, January 25, 2016

Anglican Church vows to help address youth suicide crisis in Wapekeka First Nation; says it helped create ‘legacy of brokenness’   Anglican Journal, January 24, 2017

Apology from Anglican Church over legacy of Ralph Rowe is very important   Toronto Star, January 23,2017

Ontario chief suggests class action lawsuit to stop Indigenous youth suicides   CBC, January 20, 2017

Wapekeka First Nation asked for suicide-prevention funds months before deaths of 2 girls  CBC, January 20, 2017

Anglican Church will issue apology to victims of former minister   Toronto Star, January 20, 2017

News Release: First Nation leaders call for action on Wapekeka Suicide Crisis   NAN, January 19, 2017

Warnings of ‘suicide pact’ went unheeded, says Grand Chief   Macleans, January 19, 2017

Wapekeka First Nation feared suicide pact,says they were denied help   Toronto Star, January 19, 2017

Trudeau meets with Ontario indigenous leaders in wake of girls’ suicides   Toronto Star, January 19, 2017

Indigenous leaders press federal government on services in northern community   Canadian Press, January 18, 2017

Wapekeka First Nations mental health strategy   Wapekeka First Nation, July 18, 2016

Two youth suicides in Wapekeka prompt Grand Chief to call for emergency response   CBC, January 11, 2017



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