NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Critic Michael Mantha, the MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, issued the following statement regarding the recent deaths of two girls from Wapekeka First Nation.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the tragic deaths of two 12-year-old girls from Wapekeka First Nation. My colleagues and I offer our condolences to their families and friends, Chief Norman Brown, Council, and Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.
Something is seriously wrong.
Mental health crises are a tragic and disturbing reality in Northern Ontario First Nations. Some communities have had ‘epidemics’ of suicide for many years, or even decades. We need to take real action, before we lose any more precious lives.
We have the moral and ethical obligations to take care of our children. We live in a province and country where young people can often feel like they aren’t valued, or protected. This is deeply troubling and it leaves me heavy-hearted.
Governments at all levels must work together to provide the necessary resources and supports to help youth who are struggling with mental health issues in remote communities and First Nations across the North, and it should be done without further delay.
We must act now.”