First Nations Issue Resolutions to Ban Drug Traffickers

Signs promoting living a life free of alcohol and drugs can be seen throughout Esgenoôpetitj First Nation. (Gail Harding/CBC)

Addictions counsellor hopeful Esgenoôpetitj band council will follow Elsipogtog and Tobique

By Gail Harding, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2017

As Esgenoôpetitj First Nation mourns and prepares for the funeral service of a suspected overdose victim, an addictions counsellor says they’re remaining vigilant and hopeful there will be no more overdoses.

Leo Bartibogue said there should be help available for people with addicitions, but he would also like to see something done to keep drugs like the pills suspected to have caused 35-year-old Ann Marie Lambert’s death — and four other overdoses — off the reserve.

The drug involved isn’t known yet, though people are concerned it’s fentanyl, a powerful drug that has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths across CanadaNeguac RCMP have asked Health Canada’s toxicology lab for an “urgent” analysis of the drug taken by Lambert.

Ann Marie Lambert of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation died Tuesday night of a suspected overdose. An autopsy resulted in drug samples being sent to Health Canada’s toxicology labs. ((Facebook))

Bartibogue is hoping to see the band council pass a drug-trafficking banishment resolution like councils in Elsipogtog First Nation and Tobique First Nation have.

“I did talk to the chief about it and asked that he make a recommendation. He’s going to address it with the council.”

The band councils’ resolutions were passed two days after the first four overdoses occurred in Esgenoôpetitj. Both communities’ resolutions warn that people trafficking fentanyl and other drugs will be banned.

Tobique’s resolution includes not only banishment from the reserve, but also from community services and benefits.

The band councils say they are taking these steps to protect the health and safety of those living in the community.

Bartibogue said in Esgenoôpetitj so many people are related it may be difficult for some to agree to a similar measure, knowing some people may be expelled.

“Hopefully something can be done to help this situation.” said Bartibogue.

Resolutions welcome

For John Levi of Elsipogtog First Nation, the news the band council is taking action is welcome.

“I’ve been fighting with the band to get rid of the dealers. I’m proud of the chief and council for taking that stand,” he said.

Levi said he’s been confronting people identified to him as dealers, telling them to stop what they are doing.

For him, it’s personal.

“I lost my niece last year to suicide, I knew what the drugs were doing to her,” Levi said of the 23-year-old.

With the resolution, he hopes more people will join his fight and more band councils will pass the same resolution.

“It takes strong a leader to do that. We need more of that,” said Levi.

Meanwhile, Bartibogue is working to get more naloxone kits into the community and more people trained to use them.

Naloxone is administered by a needle or nasal spray to a person who is suspected to have overdosed. It reverses the effect of an opioid overdose.

“I have one myself and we have two or three others,” said Bartibogue. “But we also need people to call us for help if they think someone has overdosed. We are here to help.”


One thought on “First Nations Issue Resolutions to Ban Drug Traffickers

  1. I have been lived on a reservation almost all my life and have heard this before. It will not solve the unemployment issue, the drug issue, the depression or anger that stems from blaming. Bringing in a non native to see how we live and what goes on every time we get a few dollars is not going to solve anything. No one can fix what is going on except us. Our leaders have got to set that example. Right now because of greed and broken promises to your own people there is little trust towards you as leaders. More money from the government to us, at the grassroots level that elected you as leaders, only means that our leaders put in place by us will result in either a government true to it’s people without nepotism and work with what we have to resolve some of what needs fixing for a short period of time for all people living on or off the reservation.. Then what? The issue still has to be addressed, will we forgive everything that has happened to us, and look to God for what is ahead, His plan for us or will we still resent, blame everything and everyone and everything? We talk about vision. God’s plan for our lives. When was the last time we listened to God, Manitou instead of listening to ourselves? God has a plan for all of us. He gave us a choice in this life, free will to do what we wanted and so we have. Look where it has gotten us. Our hearts and lives will never be satisfied. Rush, rush ,rush, all the time, quick decisions have to be made concerning our lives because someone in Government has put a deadline on it. So what! Let them wait. Until we have heard from what God thinks or wants us to do then we should wait. We are running around lead by fear, doubt, anger, anxiousness, fear of, lack of and guilt, just to mention a few. Our hearts we meant for one thing and one thing only, ” Jesus”. Until we ask him into our hearts only then and only then will we begin to live. Not for ourselves, but for God. There is hope, there is love, and there is contentment. Only believe. Miigwetch. Food for thought.


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