Suicide-plagued Kashechewan a 'community in crisis'


darleneonfire
#1





By Lauren La Rose
TORONTO (CP) - The suicide-plagued Kashechewan First Nation is a "community in crisis" that requires Ottawa's immediate attention, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine said Tuesday.
"We were aware of this crisis for some years now, and I thought we had a commitment from government to deal with the crisis," Fontaine said following a speech to delegates at the Assembly of First Nations national housing and water policy forum.
"We just have to press their case as urgently as we can. I'm just not sure what will motivate the government to do the right thing here."
Media reports suggest that in January alone, 21 young people in the beleaguered northern Ontario community - including a nine-year-old - tried to take their own lives.
Kashechewan made headlines in October 2005 after hundreds of its residents were evacuated to several Ontario towns and cities because of drinking water contaminated by E. coli bacteria.
The evacuation prompted the federal and Ontario governments to scramble for solutions to the issue of dirty drinking water in First Nations communities.
But more than a year later, Kashechewan and many other aboriginal communities in Ontario continue to struggle with poorly designed water plants or overly modern systems that are considered too costly to staff or maintain.
Kashechewan residents have had a tough time readjusting to life back on the reserve because they face the same dire problems as they did before the evacuation, said Deputy Chief Philip Goodwin.
"It's been a difficult time for everybody since returning from evacuation," he said. "The most challenging was people getting into alcohol problems and drug-related problems."
The community had no idea a 20-year-old man who killed himself last month was mentally or emotionally distressed, Goodwin said.
"I don't know really know what's going on with individual people, but a couple of young people that I've been working with seem to have problems trying to deal with their problems, and they don't have trust in other people."
"That's why they're unable to express anything - there's just no one that they trust."
Kashechewan youth have been offered one-on-one counselling as well as suicide intervention workshops, but the community doesn't have a safe house for individuals who need to be on a round-the-clock suicide watch, Goodwin said.
"Emotionally, they don't really have anything to do in the community. There's a lack of facilities."
A report released in November by federal government adviser Alan Pope made a series of recommendations for Kashechewan, including moving the reserve to within the city limits of Timmins, Ont. - 450 kilometres from its current location on the shores of James Bay.
Pope said the move would improve the lives of the community residents, particularly young people, by giving them access to high schools and post-secondary education, as well as economic opportunities and employment.
But in a speech Monday to the International Congress on Ethics in Gatineau, Que., Fontaine spoke out against such a move, saying that First Nations have been subject for too long to policy that amounts to "social engineering."
"To suggest that it's better that Kashechewan - or any of those northern communities in Ontario - would be better off if they were living in Timmins ... or any urban community, that's not true," he said.
"People shouldn't be forced to be moved from their homelands anywhere in the world, never mind Canada. That's social engineering - that someone else has decided what is best for you, what will make a better life for you. And that is not the way it should be done."
In Tuesday's speech, Fontaine said 87,000 new housing units are needed to address the issue of overcrowding in many First Nations communities.
Many houses also need to be upgraded or replaced due to age or poor construction, he added.
To address the issue, Fontaine is recommending the creation of a First Nations housing institute, an initiative he said is "long overdue."
"Right now, the way housing is delivered in too many of our communities, it isn't our people that benefit to the extent that they ought to - it's the outside community, and we simply must do better."
"Doing better means taking full control over housing, it means exercising jurisdictional control of our housing programs, it means putting our people completely in charge."
The Assembly of First Nations has also launched a human rights complaint in an effort to get more than $100 million a year from the federal government for child-welfare services.
"We will be taking one course of action that we don't necessarily believe we should be forced to, and that is taking the case of children in care to the Canadian Human Rights Commission," Fontaine said.
"Clearly we're at a stage where answers are desperately needed, and they don't seem to be forthcoming."


Copyright 2007 Canadian Press
 
temperance
#2
But we can send mu ti million dollars water purification systems to third world countries

Wake up Canada these are the future children ---1/3 of Canadians live on the brink or in poverty --I see developments created in months in urban areas ,
Move the people!!!! I think the person that suggested that needs to spend a month living there (on re severe--dirty water --we should be ashamed --letting government treat people like this --pigs that we let run our country ---mere greedy pigs --This should have been taking care of --long ago --give them tools to help them selves not bottles of water --or relocation to already problematic areas
 
gopher
#3
Somebody explain to me -- how is moving a community to a location that is better suited to a more wholesome life ''social engineering''?

When the USA removes people from flood plains into higher ground, nobody says it constitutes 'engineering'. When certain areas have been polluted beyond repair due to mining discharges, farmers and other residents have been routinely resettled in other communities. Years ago, as another example, the government sought to develop part of the Alaska wilderness. It resettled many families from Minnesota and other states there. Again, no one claimed it was 'engineering'.

This has happened all over the world. It appears to me that the government in this instance simply does not want to correct the problems that exist in that troubled community. Perhaps further discussion is warranted in this matter.
 
MikeyDB
#4
The poor excuse for a provincial Premier Dalton McGuinty would rather see his compatriots in government office recieve twenty-five percent increases on their pay-cheques than be concerned with children dying in hopeless despair.... Dalton McGuinty is a criminal and like many crimes of negligence there's enough fingers in that pie to make sure that no one is held accountable...

Thieves and Liars one and all.
 
temperance
#5
Floods are way different than moving people
because its the cheapest way ---

Honestly ,If I told you ,you have to leave your house because your municipal water is contaminated ,What would you do --fight right! because its your home and there are other solutions --"social engineering" only works if the participants want it

Maybe we should check out some reports on how other Natives did when they were forced to move ????
 
canadarocks
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by gopherView Post

Somebody explain to me -- how is moving a community to a location that is better suited to a more wholesome life ''social engineering''?

When the USA removes people from flood plains into higher ground, nobody says it constitutes 'engineering'. When certain areas have been polluted beyond repair due to mining discharges, farmers and other residents have been routinely resettled in other communities. Years ago, as another example, the government sought to develop part of the Alaska wilderness. It resettled many families from Minnesota and other states there. Again, no one claimed it was 'engineering'.

This has happened all over the world. It appears to me that the government in this instance simply does not want to correct the problems that exist in that troubled community. Perhaps further discussion is warranted in this matter.

I agree. I wonder, would people just want them to stay where they are and suffer from the effects of nature?
 
temperance
#7
NO not suffer ,do something in your own Country dam it




www.wwwf.org/signup.php (external - login to view)
 
temperance
#8
www.lifewater.ca/links.htm (external - login to view)
 
mapleleafgirl
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by temperanceView Post

But we can send mu ti million dollars water purification systems to third world countries

Wake up Canada these are the future children ---1/3 of Canadians live on the brink or in poverty --I see developments created in months in urban areas ,
Move the people!!!! I think the person that suggested that needs to spend a month living there (on re severe--dirty water --we should be ashamed --letting government treat people like this --pigs that we let run our country ---mere greedy pigs --This should have been taking care of --long ago --give them tools to help them selves not bottles of water --or relocation to already problematic areas

its funny that we spend more attention on people outside of canada than inside. never thought of that, but youre right. why, for example, should there be homeless and hungry people in a country where the majority of people have a weight problem from overeating?
 
temperance
#10
Disaster relief : Canada's rapid-response team

Last Updated October 17, 2005

CBC News

The Disaster Assistance Response Team about 200 Canadian Forces soldiers is designed to fly into disaster areas around the world to provide drinking water and medical treatment until long-term aid arrives. Produced thousands of litres of clean drinking water and chlorinated local wells used by about 15,000 people. Sri Lanka: Operation Structure

An earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a series of tsunamis in Southeast Asia, killing an estimated 275,000 people. Prime Minster Paul Martin announced Jan. 2, 2005, that DART would be sent to Sri Lanka.

The Canadian government was criticized at the time for its decision to send DART to Sri Lanka rather than to a more severely affected area, such as Indonesia, and for its perceived slow response to the crisis.

The DART team, which set up in an old sugar factory in Ampara:
  • Treated more than 7,620 patients.
  • Produced nearly 3.5 million litres of drinking water.
  • Transported nearly 70,000 across a local river.
  • Helped in repairing schools, clearing rubble and constructing temporary shelters.
 
mapleleafgirl
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by temperanceView Post

Disaster relief : Canada's rapid-response team

Last Updated October 17, 2005

CBC News

The Disaster Assistance Response Team about 200 Canadian Forces soldiers is designed to fly into disaster areas around the world to provide drinking water and medical treatment until long-term aid arrives. Produced thousands of litres of clean drinking water and chlorinated local wells used by about 15,000 people. Sri Lanka: Operation Structure

An earthquake in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, 2004, triggered a series of tsunamis in Southeast Asia, killing an estimated 275,000 people. Prime Minster Paul Martin announced Jan. 2, 2005, that DART would be sent to Sri Lanka.

The Canadian government was criticized at the time for its decision to send DART to Sri Lanka rather than to a more severely affected area, such as Indonesia, and for its perceived slow response to the crisis.

The DART team, which set up in an old sugar factory in Ampara:

  • Treated more than 7,620 patients.
  • Produced nearly 3.5 million litres of drinking water.
  • Transported nearly 70,000 across a local river.
  • Helped in repairing schools, clearing rubble and constructing temporary shelters.

very nice, what do they do here in canada though?
 
temperance
#12
Exactly ,Why cant they do it ,throw a few bucks here and there --doesn't solve anything --The reason displacing people is for ulterior motives --What they are I dont know --money somehow Im sure
 
sanctus
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by temperanceView Post

Exactly ,Why cant they do it ,throw a few bucks here and there --doesn't solve anything --The reason displacing people is for ulterior motives --What they are I dont know --money somehow Im sure

I guess the moral thing to question in each of us is what are WE doing to help those in our own country. In other words, it is, perhaps, just as bad to sit back and wait for THEM to do something as THEM not doing what we think they should be doing.
 
MMMike
#14
Oh, I see this is the latest 'crisis' that the government has to deal with on native reserves. How much longer till the next one? Any guesses? The problem is with the whole thinking that these communities can ever be sustainable in the first place. These places have no future, no opportunity.... of course these rampant social ills are inevitable. We should not pump more money into this place or move them as a group anywhere else. What we should do is fund individuals. Give them a significant amount of money (a couple hundred thousand dollars??) to pack up and move where ever they want. We should also support them with more education and job/life skills training. What we should not do is sustain the present failed system of reserves in isolated areas.
 
marygaspe
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by MMMikeView Post

Oh, I see this is the latest 'crisis' that the government has to deal with on native reserves. How much longer till the next one? Any guesses? The problem is with the whole thinking that these communities can ever be sustainable in the first place. These places have no future, no opportunity.... of course these rampant social ills are inevitable. We should not pump more money into this place or move them as a group anywhere else. What we should do is fund individuals. Give them a significant amount of money (a couple hundred thousand dollars??) to pack up and move where ever they want. We should also support them with more education and job/life skills training. What we should not do is sustain the present failed system of reserves in isolated areas.

I couldn't agree more. The entire reservation system just cannot be a healthy and productive way for these people to live.
 
hermanntrude
#16
I've seen (and lived on) a reservation which worked a lot better than this one. There were social problems but you could tell that the people who lived there loved their town. It was a special place. It seems that the nastiest reservations are ones which have physical problems, like bad water, terrible isolation, or no social events. All it'd take is a bit of town planning IMO
 
marygaspe
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

I've seen (and lived on) a reservation which worked a lot better than this one. There were social problems but you could tell that the people who lived there loved their town. It was a special place. It seems that the nastiest reservations are ones which have physical problems, like bad water, terrible isolation, or no social events. All it'd take is a bit of town planning IMO


But don't you think it is high time the federal government stopped wasting our tax money on these people? Don't you think it would be better to, as someone suggested, we dole out a final large payment to each member and let them finally join the mainstream of society?
 
CDNBear
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by marygaspeView Post

But don't you think it is high time the federal government stopped wasting our tax money on these people? Don't you think it would be better to, as someone suggested, we dole out a final large payment to each member and let them finally join the mainstream of society?

I like this idea.

Since we are talking about a 'buy out' for the treaties, we can place the current real estate values on the table, and then start discussion on where all the Non Natives are going to go, when you figure out your government coffers, do not hold enough cash to 'buy us out'.

Until you do have enough to 'buy us out', the rent payments will suffice.
 
hermanntrude
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by marygaspeView Post

But don't you think it is high time the federal government stopped wasting our tax money on these people? Don't you think it would be better to, as someone suggested, we dole out a final large payment to each member and let them finally join the mainstream of society?

I think a final payment is a good idea. but not a personal payment. I think each and every reservation should be brought up to a decent standard of living, and it be made clear that this was the last major payment so town planning could be taken care of in full knowledge.

I have to admit though i can see some holes in my own argument. it's not an easy problem, if it were, we'd have sorted it out by now.
 
m_levesque
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

I think a final payment is a good idea. but not a personal payment. I think each and every reservation should be brought up to a decent standard of living, and it be made clear that this was the last major payment so town planning could be taken care of in full knowledge.

I have to admit though i can see some holes in my own argument. it's not an easy problem, if it were, we'd have sorted it out by now.


It's very easy really, pay them each a final payment, move them off the reservations into the cities and towns, get on with their lives.
 
DurkaDurka
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by m_levesqueView Post

It's very easy really, pay them each a final payment, move them off the reservations into the cities and towns, get on with their lives.

forced relocation again? I doubt that would go over well.
 
canadarocks
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by m_levesqueView Post

It's very easy really, pay them each a final payment, move them off the reservations into the cities and towns, get on with their lives.


Uhmmm, did any of you would-be politicians consider the possibility that the Indians may be content with the way things are? Talking about forcing them off the reservations sounds just a bit like apartheid to me. Anyway, unless I'm wrong, we tried the BORG approach already and they did not seem to get assimilated....
 
canadarocks
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by DurkaDurkaView Post

forced relocation again? I doubt that would go over well.

That's what I'm thinking too! Maybe we should let the Indians have a say in what the future may hold for them. They're not children.
 
CDNBear
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by canadarocksView Post

That's what I'm thinking too! Maybe we should let the Indians have a say in what the future may hold for them. They're not children.

Thank you!!!
 
Vicious
#25
I'm curious about the AFN, what exactly do they do for the people? Are they primarily a government lobby group or do they hold some power over the various bands?
 
hermanntrude
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by canadarocksView Post

That's what I'm thinking too! Maybe we should let the Indians have a say in what the future may hold for them. They're not children.

which is why we should give them a startup bursary rather than pocket money
 
sanctus
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

which is why we should give them a startup bursary rather than pocket money


And if they don't want this bursary?
 
CDNBear
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by ViciousView Post

I'm curious about the AFN, what exactly do they do for the people? Are they primarily a government lobby group or do they hold some power over the various bands?

IMHO a lobby group.
 
MMMike
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by canadarocksView Post

That's what I'm thinking too! Maybe we should let the Indians have a say in what the future may hold for them. They're not children.

I don't think it is as much a matter of 'forced relocation' as a long overdue recognition that the current reserve system does not work (at least in isolated locations such as Kashechewan). Have a conversation with the residents... I'm sure they want independence and a real future rather than continued (inadequate) government handouts. But instead of a community based move, I strongly prefer funding to individuals - let them make up their own minds about where their future lies and where they want to live.

But if they chose the status quo they're on their own. Its a sinkhole of despair for them, and a sinkhole of money for Canadian taxpayers.
 
Vicious
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

IMHO a lobby group.

That is my impression as well. So the question becomes why should we listen to Phil when his job is to secure money from the government. He is not responsible for fixing the problem. Can he explain where the money will go or who it should go to or how it should be spent? Who ultimately is accountable to the people of Kashechawan?

Is the band council at Kash the group that receives the money and are they responsible for ensuring the problems (both the water issues and the suicide issues) are addressed? Or is it the province, the federal government?

Another thing that puzzles me is why the First Nations people elect a lobbiest?
 

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