For immediate release

January 29, 2022 

Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is issuing this statement on behalf of Chief Evan Yassie of the Sayisi Dene Denesuline Nation in Northern Manitoba. Sayisi Dene is the most Northern First Nation community in Manitoba.

Chief Evan Yassie

Chief Evan Yassie of Sayisi Dene Denesuline Nation


Chief Evan Yassie states:

 “It is with a heavy heart I am making a statement to send condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of a young man from the Sayisi Dene Denesuline Nation who lost his life yesterday.

Our community is impacted by intergenerational trauma that contributes to young people having challenges with addictions and mental wellness. Due to the forced relocation of our citizens in 1956, community members are sadly disconnected from cultural teachings and traditions. These are land-based practices that kept our community members healthy for time immemorial.

The Dene people are a strong people, we are survivors. While we go through the difficult time of grieving the loss of a young person who left us in a tragic and hurtful way, I am calling out for assistance from all our partners. We need to work together on an urgent basis to address the need for more resources, address the addictions, and to put supports in place for the benefit of our youth.

The young people in our community are hurting. We are all hurting as we are all connected to one another. There are severe additions issues, and it will take a coordinated approach to address these issues in a holistic, culturally relevant way. As we are an isolated and remote community, it is essential the resources are put in place so that anyone can access them without having to travel to an urban centre.

Connectivity is an issue that also must be addressed. Not every household in the community is connected to the Internet, which contributes to keeping everyone informed or being able to access vital resources such as counselling sessions online. While we are dealing with a crisis in different locations of our community, I believe that if we have cell service it would play an important part in communication from an emergency response coordination standpoint. It is essential that we have access to these resources within Tadoule Lake so we can properly respond to any crisis that arises in the future.

Young people are calling out for resources and I urge provincial and federal partners to provide support to them immediately. Our youth are our future.

Once again, I am sending my condolences to all those impacted by the loss of this young man in our community. I also acknowledge the loss of too many young people over the last three years.”



For more information:

Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Phone: 204-612-1284
Email: [email protected]