A desperate Cry for help

These are children first ,Canadian children crying out in pain ,not race or religion should matter

Epidemic of suicides plagues Sask. community

Rest of the story http://www.canada.com/edmontonjourna...0188fa&k=14592

Jason Warick, CanWest News Service; Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2007
SANDY BAY, Sask. - This northern Saskatchewan community is reeling following an epidemic of suicides, the most recent victim a 15-year-old girl.
At least five suicides, as well as more than a dozen attempted suicides, have taken place in this adjoining village and Cree reserve of less than 1,500 people in the past few months, according to officials. Sandy Bay is located approximately 600 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
In all five cases, young people between the ages of 15 and 31 hanged themselves. In almost all but the most recent suicides, the victims had been drinking. But there were also deeper problems ranging from addiction to family turmoil to legal issues, say sources.
View Larger Image The final e-mail of a 15-year-old Sandy Bay girl who committed suicide

StarPhoenix/Brian Johnsrude

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"I'm screaming on the inside, but a smile is what you see," a girl wrote in a poem e-mailed from a school computer the morning she died. She took her own life at home during the lunch hour.
"I'm not content with the person I seem to be."
The poem was reprinted on the program card for the girl's funeral. The funeral last Saturday was attended by hundreds of area residents, as well as Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Lawrence Joseph.
"The teachers were upset. The kids were walking around teary-eyed. The whole community is feeling it," said teacher Adele Morin.
Grade 12 student Eric Laliberte said everyone is talking about the string of tragedies and is praying it will end.
"It's just crazy. There are so many suicides," said the 18-year-old Laliberte.
"It's sad, but it's not even a surprise anymore. I sometimes think about who'll be next."
Laliberte, who plans to become a pilot after graduating, said he was on his way to school a few months ago when he saw police trying to help a 21-year-old man hanging from a tree. No one discovered him until it was too late.
"He was a good buddy of mine. It was pretty traumatizing," Laliberte said.
Tasia Natewayes, 21, was out with the man and a group of others the night before.
"He started telling me all his problems. He said he couldn't take it any more but I didn't believe him," she said.
"When I heard (of the suicide), I cried the whole day."
Lazar Morin has worked as a Sandy Bay first responder on the scene of several suicides. He was able to save one man attempting to hang himself, but the rest were dead when he arrived. He couldn't even take them down, as protocol dictates that police must clear it first, he said.
"It doesn't take long. It can happen so fast," Morin said. "It is difficult, but unfortunately you get used to it. Too much has happened here already."
Ann Bear is one of several people who perform parts of the church services in this Catholic community, which does not have a resident priest. She knew the girl who died last week and helped with the funeral. Bear knew the other victims as well.
"The whole community is devastated. I'm just overwhelmed. I can't take this any more," Bear said.
"It's never happened like this before, all these young people taking their lives."
Neither the mayor of Sandy Bay nor the councillors for the governing Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation were available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Foreseen ????

Aboriginal Suicide Rates Need To Be Addressed

"Take the time to listen, take the time to respect each other"
- FSIN Vice Chief Albert Scott

Current statistics on Aboriginal suicide are grim. According to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Special Report: Choosing Life, Aboriginal suicide rates are two to three times higher than the Canadian average. Youth rates are even worse. The report states that suicide rates are five to six times higher among Aboriginal youth than their mainstream counterparts.

"Most concerning of all," state the Commissioners, "We identified a strong possibility that the number of suicides among Aboriginal youth will rise in the next 10 to 15 years." This is largely due to the expected bulge in Aboriginal youth populations. In the next few years, the large number of young people who are now younger than 15 will be entering young adulthood, a highly traumatic time for even the best prepared youths.

The report also refers to the impact of the "ripple effect" through interconnected families and communities. The aftermath of a suicide may include destructive behaviour or copycat suicides. This is something for which community leaders are often not prepared.

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Chief Blaine Favel agrees. "We encountered some suicides when I was Chief of Poundmaker, and the sense of powerlessness and the sense of failure that a community has, and the leadership has, is something we should talk about," he said.

Talking about the issue was the purpose of "The Washing of Tears Conference" held in Saskatoon. The conference was organized by the Health and Social Development Commission of the FSIN to address suicide and its impact. "It's an issue that none of us have not been touched by in the 72 First Nations of Saskatchewan," said Chief Favel.

The goal of the conference was to develop strategies for communities to anticipate and prevent suicide and learn to deal with the aftermath when a suicide does occur.

More than 1,000 people attended the conference, with approximately 200 coming from out of province. Most of them recognized that the answers are not simply in improving crisis services. Many of the answers lie in addressing the underlying factors. "High unemployment, poverty, the effects of residential schools, a lot of them are tied together," said Chief Favel.

These issues, and more, were addressed throughout the conference in workshops.

The findings expressed in the delegates final reports reflected those of the Royal Commission, in part: prevention through community action.

A variety of ways are suggested for communities to become more involved.

Cultural activities such as sweats, storytelling and language camps were frequently suggested.

The overwhelming recommendations, however, were for youth programs and youth involvement. As one participant stated, "Youth need a say in how their communities are run." The delegates listed positive role models and sport and recreation opportunities as being important. Courses in parenting skills, life skills, anger management and goal setting were also suggested.

The conference delegates took home the workshop findings and will begin the process of implementing them in their own communities.

The "Washing of Tears Conference" was the first step in addressing this issue that has gone on for too long. The next step will require the support of entire communities if change is to occur. As FSIN Vice-Chief Albert Scott stated, "Nothing is impossible if we work together."
They say suicide is contagious within families. Most of the First Nations communities I've been in are more of a true family than some of the caucasian families I know. It's so sad to see this happening.
The legacy of residential schools, broken up families, destroyed culture, marginalization and economic isolation.
Being a teenager is hard enough without the stigma of the past ,Ialways felt the First Nation people would be able to over come ,but the pain in her words ,if it was a middle of toronto block of 1500 people/teens the news would be all over it ,why is help taking so long .Its so hard to hear and so muti faceted its heart wrenching .
This hits me hard, how can such a tragedy hit our people like this.

God speed.
Last edited by westmanguy; Feb 25th, 2007 at 12:57 AM..

why did you bother commenting then -- Its not about money its about children ,a 15 year old killed herself on her lunch hour ---she wasn't asking for cash --your twisted
So, what solutions do we have for this serious and desperate issue.
Last edited by westmanguy; Feb 25th, 2007 at 12:58 AM..
TOO late get lost ! the above comments have been change ,they were horrible, West has aplogolzed and erased the comments --replaced with ???
Can a person change over night ???
Last edited by temperance; Feb 25th, 2007 at 04:02 AM..
I think the people in the local community need to come together and heal each others woes and sorrows.
Last edited by westmanguy; Feb 25th, 2007 at 12:59 AM..
Quote: Originally Posted by temperanceView Post

TOO late get lost !

You tell him, girl! Yah Temperence
This truly is a tragedy though.. why hasn't this bin given wide media coverage.
Last edited by westmanguy; Feb 25th, 2007 at 12:59 AM..
lots of kids talk about suicide in canada. adults just dont want to listen. most, of course, dont do it, but it is pretty common to hear around the halls of high schools.
West ,if your too tired to read the post ,then don't comment --I ll take the apology for what its worth

own your problem ,coming back and trying to twist it ,why couldn't you just leave it at the apology --it was a post about teenage suicide first and asking for help --didn't matter who it was --cant see money, cash helping ,do you think if we gave the guys that were responsible for the school shooting cash that would have stopped it ??--its a plea for help,

are you one of the guys on the highway that would rather cause an accident, instead of missing your off ramp , there are many others on the road ,being considerate is the lest we ask

I do feel sorry for you and hope at the point in your life when you need help you get it
Quote: Originally Posted by temperanceView Post

West ,if your too tired to read the post ,then don't comment --I ll take the apology for what its worth

own your problem ,coming back and trying to twist it ,why couldn't you just leave it at the apology --it was a post about teenage suicide first and asking for help --didn't matter who it was --cant see money, cash helping ,do you think if we gave the guys that were responsible for the school shooting cash that would have stopped it ??--its a plea for help,

are you one of the guys on the highway that would rather cause an accident, instead of missing your off ramp , there are many others on the road ,being considerate is the lest we ask

I do feel sorry for you and hope at the point in your life when you need help you get it

Lots of that goes around on this forum. Some people, and I think we know the ones who do this on a frequent basis, enjoy jumping into threads and inserting comments that have nothing to do with what is under discussion. It's almost like they have a need to see how many threads they can interrupt in one day!
Quote: Originally Posted by westmanguyView Post

say what.. I didn't feel like reading an article and assumed the story, and my inference was wrong.


Why would you have commented at all if you weren't aware of what the topic was?
Quote: Originally Posted by temperanceView Post

Being a teenager is hard enough without the stigma of the past ,Ialways felt the First Nation people would be able to over come ,but the pain in her words ,if it was a middle of toronto block of 1500 people/teens the news would be all over it ,why is help taking so long .Its so hard to hear and so muti faceted its heart wrenching .

You're right. There is a great deal of difference in media attention in terms of where the situation is. In this case, Natives and their issues are not as important as over-spoiled rich white kids in suburbia.Sad. As you wrote, it's not about race, religion or area of the country. It's a real problem that we need to address!
Maple ,do you know why kids teens talk about suicide is it like they feel the life they lead with never get better ? or what is it

I understand about peer pressure and and not having (you know they gal down the street got a car and your parents don t have bus passes) is it like that or is it the weight of the world and its problems

Can you shed light I'm listening ?(not that I'm a parent but in age I'm an adult lol)

I remember all to well not quite have that perfect family , oh and the peer pressure then ,it must be unbearable now
I'd like to share my own thoughts but hope I'll not be criticized for them - by impatience from some...

Self-isolation in a group of people has long been detrimental. I believe in full integration into the larger group but it would seem the First Nations peoples have chosen and encouraged and perhaps rewarded for remaining within their familiar bondage and heritage.

Familiar habits - even bad ones become acceptable norms for life because they grow up believing they cannot function with "strangers" who have adopted other ways and have left the comfort of the group.

Integration is never easy - ask any immigrant - and yet these people cling to the fact they were on the continent first and have had their empire - their land - their customs usurped by foreigners who have
taken way even their core beliefs.

It has been a tragedy from the beginning of settlements in not only the north but as far reaching into the southern American continents..... and has ended in a sordid lifestyle for many who have preferred to succumb to acquiescence and have never known or been taught independence and breaking away
.... such as we all go through in modern times..... leaving the home.... the nest.... the comfortable family.....even if the family has taught us defeat and giving up.

When a nation of people seek to stay apart for whatever historical and rational reasoning on their part, they deny themselves the riches of learning new ways, self-worth, independence, being able to make it on their own despite real or imagined negatives...... and the lineage of detrimental learning continues throughout the generations.

The governments in their desire to "help" have only fostered more dependence, and seem to have forgotten what a terrible waste of good lives their "helping" has created.

The suicides are a result of the despair "no hope for self" can bring - especially in the young when they are faced with years of waiting and hoping and finally succumbing to what has gone before.

Every new life is born with hope and anticipation of a good life.... these people manage to snuff out that hope before the teen years are upon them....because the majority seem to be unable to break
away from years - and generations - of learning they can't make it on their own.

When in fact in California and Arizona I have seen tribes rise up from the dust, shed the litter of years of being held captive to the "old way" and have discovered talent and intellect they had never
tested, nor had the opportunity to - and are raising up others to follow.... but it has to come from
leaders who envision the hope and pass it on....

This isolation and refusal to integrate is not peculiar only to First Nations peoples - many immigrant peoples remain within a tiny community often joined by a religion or a charismatic leader... but as their children become educated with each succeeding generation and curiosity is sparked in them they seek to leave and explore other ways of life, in self-expression, valuing their own worth and determination they "can make it on their own".... they can still return to "home" but with a different
vision of themselves and their future...
That makes sense ,but there are native people that have gone thur the grieving process (forgave not forgot ) but do lead very productive lives ,they have come full circle and encourage others to delve into there ways prior to the big genocidal like time --would one band go in and help another? are they as one people of first nation or are the divided into tribes as well and focused more on each tribe --

Totally agree with the gov just handing money --it doesn't do dittle if the tools are there

the gov does the same with social assistance ,though they are starting to realize if you give people tools (employment planning ,schooling )they may have missed growing up they can succeed ---
I can only see Native peoples looking to each other for help ,I do hope that is right ,

I want so desperatly to offer a magical cure ,I dont have one ,being supportive in my community is hard (acepptance ),offering help is small but vital ,the shame runs so deep

I keep hoping the groups in the southern areas of North America will reach out to the brothers and sisters in holding out the hope they themselves have allowed to happen to their people....for I think the innate pride in the First Nations peoples will keep them from believing anything except from
their own kind...they have been deceived or have been given bad advice too many times....

I wonder why they don't have their own political lives, finding a charismatic leader who is able to speak to them on their own terms, yet offering the riches and benefits (I do not necessarily mean financial riches) of joining the society in which they live no matter the origins of that society.

Hope is not a desire which only burns in the hearts of "certain nationalities"... it is a human attribute which can open doors for decades to come...hope denied brings defeat and another generation lost.
The Native People's first problem is the government, media and religious organizations. What they have done is nothing short of RACISIM. If they treated the white man like that there would have been hell to pay. There has been widespread propaganda especially in the media against these people. It is not acceptable against other races but runs rampid when it refers to the Native People. We have the proof of this here on CC today with Westmanguy's first post, I also have a female friend that has the same attitude. It is not their fault, they have been indoctrinated to believe this way.

Something that really bugs me is why the "Office of Indian Affairs" is always run be a non-Native. I may be wrong but I have never heard of a Native person being named head of this org. What does a white person know about Native people? I knew nothing, but with the help of CDNBear who has given me sites to read I have learned a whole other side of the history.

I have learned that in the beginning they tries to keep their social structure, their governing ways(which were sometimes more democtratic than ours), their way of life, culture but they were stopped at every turn in the road. They were a proud people but that pride was destroyed because the white man felt they were superior, today because of propaganda most non- natives consider them a nuisance. To me this is a genocide without direct murder but a genocide just the same. No wonder these young people choose death over life, they have no hope.

What can we do? I don't know, I wish I did!

I don't know the history of the Native peoples in California but they applied around ten years ago to set up and operate gaming casinos in California. Of course the Nevada casino operators threw up their hands in argument - as they had lobbied for years to keep gaming out of California - but they
had no power over the Native peoples.

The gaming casinos were permitted and the only concern the government set up was roads going to the new developments on Native land....which would have to be constructed to state standards and probably built under government workers rules.... they came to an agreement and the Natives paid for the access roads... and now years later they are so successful they are even paying nominal taxes to the California government - which is a hoot because they were never asked to do so. The First Nations choose to pay taxes depending on their working and living circumstances.

They have much pride, have found a successful venture just as their people have done in the eastern part of the U.S. and have now found the financial means to uplift their own people without any government legislation or "assistance" or "interference"....

Hopefully one day it won't just be gaming casinos...but hotels and resorts and then...perhaps hospitals and universities.... but they had to make the money first as a beginning and all the money that was before going to Navada is staying in California to benefit them.

Some of their kids are paying their way through universities now and it's a win-win situation for everyone. They have found a foothold to independence and pride.

Here also some have set up Casinos. I presume some things have improved but I do not know to what extend. I wish CDNBear was in on this discussion because he could probably answer some of our questions. Maybe we will see him later in the day. I know that integration into the community of a new country, like the immiagrants, is not easy but image the insult and devastation of having to integrate in you OWN country.
I still believe that assimilation into the general population is the best solution for their problems, as the reserves only keep the ghettoism of the natives going. In my area now, there are many black families and many Asians who have joined right into the community and we all get along. And my son in law is native, and refuses to do any of the native things that are his rights under our laws. Please don't think I am in any way , a bigot.
I really feel so happy that the thread starter brought this issue to light to enlighten us on the issues that face native children.
Last edited by westmanguy; Feb 25th, 2007 at 12:53 AM..
What story are you talking about? Can you give me a link please?
West what are you talking about and who are you talking too -What native that shoot up a school it was a comparison I was saying --

-I just wanted to bring the problem of suicide ,it so happens The people are Cree and First Nations and that 5 young adults have committed suicide in a short time span --I never said a Native person shot up a school I was making a comparison with they fact that you West believe IT was a cry for money --I don't know enough to know why any teenage commits suicide and can only (by my growing up with my mothers friends who were very well know Native people in government position and within the women native Friend ship center in my area, thats is the only why I knew about the problems which these women so vigilantly worked to eradicate -I cant speak for them and can only hope and offer within my community at this point --We can speculate as to why this is happening ,they are crying for help as are most teens that comment suicide it its just a young native person with out support of a tribe (tribe that has been able to work throught problems will have a much harder time with life --Pleaase, West move on to a diffrent thread ,you are not of any use to this one
Sparrow ,West is mixed up I never said a native person shoot up a school --West was saying it was cry for money I said money isnt going to help --"I said what would you do give the guy that shoot up the school money" and how would that help I was useing --as a comparsion --he(West ) didnt read it right
Temperance, thanks for clearing that up because I could not remember such a story in the news.
I feel in some respect the media should be kept accountable for bringing more attention to these sad but serious issues. Don't you?
Last edited by westmanguy; Feb 25th, 2007 at 12:53 AM..

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