For immediate release
August 29, 2019
Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is issuing this statement on behalf of God’s Lake First Nation.
“We are activating a state of emergency in our community today. We have been dealing with an ongoing crisis in our community every day this summer,” said Chief Gilbert Andrews of God’s Lake. “There have been four young people who have taken their own lives this summer. This is a crisis that our health staff are dealing with every day and we need help immediately.”
God’s Lake is located about 1000 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg in Treaty Five Territory. The community is dealing with a meth crisis along with addictions to alcohol and drugs. In addition to the four suicides that have been carried out over the summer, there have been 22 suicide attempts.
“MKO is deeply concerned about this crisis and is working closely with God’s Lake at this time,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “We have called on officials with the Government of Canada to ensure the community receives proper resources such as qualified therapists. MKO is also sending our Mobile Crisis Response Team to the community today.”
“We are planning a community meeting next week to discuss the issue and to work on a plan of action on how we can work together to alleviate these concerns,” shared Chief Andrews. “We look forward to receiving expert assistance from our partners. We must develop a comprehensive plan in partnership with the federal government, otherwise this crisis will continue, and we will continue to experience tragedy and trauma.”
Chief Andrews is asking for privacy for his community. MKO and Chief Andrews will not be providing any interviews on this issue at this time.