Tag Archives: Indigenous youth

Indigenous youth arrested for refusing to leave B.C. legislature

Victoria police say five Indigenous youth were arrested Wednesday night for refusing to leave the B.C. legislature: (CTV News)

VICTORIA — An intense scene played out on the lawns of the B.C. legislature late Wednesday night as police removed five Indigenous demonstrators from inside the government building.

Victoria Police confirm five Indigenous youth demonstrators were arrested for mischief after they refused to leave a planned meeting with Indigenous relations minister Scott Fraser.

The Indigenous youth, who have been occupying B.C.’s legislature for weeks, were invited in for a meeting with Fraser when they allegedly demanded he condemn the Costal GasLink pipeline project that crosses through the Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory in northern B.C.

When demands were not met, the demonstrators refused to leave.

“Our lives are more valuable than an economic bottom line which is why we are occupying this office currently,” said Indigenous youth leader Ta’kaiya Blaney on a live stream she posted to social media Wednesday night.

“We had a good conversation, but we know these meetings cannot set the tone for a history, and ongoing history, of colonization in this country.”

Victoria police say five Indigenous youth were arrested Wednesday night for refusing to leave the B.C. legislature: (CTV News)

Victoria Police say they arrested five demonstrators at around 9 P.M. Wednesday. Police say that because Wet’suwet’en supporters crowded outside of the legislature, it took hours to get everyone out of the building.

“The protesters actively obstructed officers,” said Bowen Osoko, VicPD communications office.

“With the large crowd, it took several hours for our officers to be able safely transport the protesters to VicPD Headquarters,” he said. “Officers who were responding to the scene were surrounded by over 100 protesters and were unable to respond to emergency calls for service.”

Five Indigenous youth were arrested by Victoria police for refusing to leave the B.C. legislature: (CTV News)

The activists were transported to cells and released on conditions not to return to the legislature grounds.

A mischief investigation continues. According to police, no one was injured.

By Scott Cunningham, CTV News, published on March 5, 2020

[SOURCE]

Saskatchewan chief saddened by lack of help to stop suicides

Chief Ron Mitsuing of the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation voices his concerns about a suicide crisis in his community at the Legislative Building in Regina on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. Photo by The Canadian Press/Mark Taylor

The chief of a northern Saskatchewan First Nation says he is disappointed at the lack of long-term help from the provincial and federal governments to deal with what he says is a suicide crisis.

Ronald Mitsuing of the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, along with another band leader, met in Regina on Wednesday with ministers and the deputy premier.

The leaders are concerned about what they are calling “cluster suicides” in their community of Loon Lake, about 360 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

They say there have been three suicides, including one by a 10-year-old girl, in three weeks and eight suicide attempts, mostly by young people.

Mitsuing said he asked Premier Scott Moe and officials for help now, as well as for a long-term suicide prevention strategy to help all First Nations.

“Things are happening now. They can’t wait anymore,” he said.

“Kids are losing their lives and, if they keep waiting, it’s going to happen again.”

Mitsuing said Saskatchewan Health Authority officials sent to help his community will eventually leave and temporary assistance isn’t enough to prevent future deaths.

He wants community members to be trained on how to spot signs of suicidal thoughts and on how to properly respond.

“Right now our teachers are also burning out over there. They’re stressed. Our whole community, front-line workers, are stressed.”

Rural and Remote Health Minister Warren Kaeding said the first step was to provide immediate help, which has been done, and then to plan for any medium- and long-term solutions.

“It’s a little early in the juncture to determine what those services are, but that’s something that’s going to be community-led, and we’ll certainly have those conversations with officials,” he said.

The Ministry of Health is reviewing its services and looking at what is offered elsewhere in Canada.

The Opposition NDP has put forward a private member’s bill that would create a suicide prevention strategy. Its leader says the Saskatchewan Party government has failed to act on reducing poverty and developing economic opportunities in the north.

“Nothing that we’ve seen from them so far indicates that they actually take this seriously which … causes me to wonder whether this is something they care about,” said Ryan Meili.

Band CEO Barry Mitsuing Chalifoux said an ongoing strategy would better help prevent suicide crises and give local governments ideas on what resources could be of help in their communities.

He said federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller called last week to offer his condolences. Chalifoux said he understands work is being done by federal officials to see what support may be coming and he believes they will respond.

“I’m just hoping they do that soon,” Chalifoux said.

The First Nation wants parenting programs and funding to hire additional supports in order to monitor its youth, he said.

In the fall of 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called several suicides by children in northern Saskatour girls between the ages of 10 and 14 had taken their own lives over a short period of time.

“We continue to be committed to working with Indigenous communities across the country to deal with this ever-occurring tragedy,” he said at the time.

Earlier that year, a string of suicide attempts in Attawapiskat in northern Ontario garnered international media attention when the Cree community declared a state of emergency.

By The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2019.

[SOURCE]

First Nations Activists from Winnipeg to Blockade TransCanada Highway on Friday

Blockade at Ontario and Manitoba border. Photo: Red Power Media

Red Power Media | June 29, 2017

For immediate release

On, June 30th, 2017, First Nations activists from Winnipeg will be shutting down a portion of the TransCanada Highway to protest the Canadian government and bring awareness to the youth suicide crisis in First Nations communities as well to the deaths of several indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Members of the American Indian Movement, Urban Warrior Alliance and Idle No More will be taking part in a pipe ceremony for youth, followed by a blockade of the highway.

Representatives from groups taking part are demanding the Liberal government increase the availability of mental health services on reserves and provide culturally appropriate resources for youth including in Manitoba. Inadequate health-care services, the loss of cultural identity and lack of proper housing are key factors contributing to the high rates of suicide and mental illness among indigenous peoples. Recently in Ontario, three 12 year old girls died by suicide at Wapekeka First Nation, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The latest one happened June 13th when a pre-teen girl hung herself.

The deaths of several Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay have also raised concerns about racism against Indigenous people and inadequate police investigations. First Nations leaders have expressed their lack of faith in Thunder Bay police. The York Regional Police service have been requested to investigate the deaths of Josiah Begg, 14, and Tammy Keeash, 17, found dead in McIntyre River in May. Ten indigenous people have been found dead in Thunder Bay, since 2000. Seven were First Nations students who died between 2000 and 2011 while attending high school in the Thunder Bay, hundreds of kilometres away from their remote communities where access to education is limited. Organizers of Fridays protest would like to see improvement in First Nations education and increase in funding for schooling on reserves.

Activists are requesting the RCMP respect their right to protest. They plan to start their demonstration around 12 pm just east of Winnipeg near Deacon’s corner. A press conference will also take place at that time. Activists are planning to hand out information to motorists and collect signatures on a petition calling for immediate action from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennet, as well as the Minister of Health Jane Philpott.

Thunder Bay Police Rejects First Nation Leaders’ Call for RCMP Probe of River Deaths

APTN National News |

The acting chief of the beleaguered Thunder Bay police force rejected a call from First Nation leaders for the RCMP to step in and investigate three waterway deaths in the city.

Thunder Bay police acting Chief Sylvie Hauth said during a press conference Wednesday that she did not believe it to be “practical” or “necessary” to call in the Mounties.

The Ontario government has said only Hauth, as acting police chief, has the power to call in the RCMP.

Hauth became acting chief after the Ontario Provincial Police charged Thunder Bay police Chief J.P. Levesque with obstruction of justice and breach of trust after he allegedly disclosed confidential information about the city’s mayor Keith Hobbs.

First Nation leaders have said the local Indigenous community has no confidence in the Thunder Bay police or the OPP to investigate the deaths of Indigenous people.

Nishnawbe Aski Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Grand Council Treaty 3 Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh and Rainy River First Nations Chief Jim Leonard last week called on the RCMP to investigate the deaths of: Tammy Keeash, 17, who was living in a group home and found dead in the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway on May 7; Josiah Begg, 14, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on May 18; and Stacy DeBungee, who was found dead in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015.

The chiefs could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hauth said the OPP completed a review of how the city police handled the DeBungee investigation on May 15. The Thunder Bay police said earlier Wednesday there were no plans to release the report.

The Thunder Bay police botched the handling of DeBungee’s death investigation, according to private investigator David Perry, a former senior Toronto homicide detective. Thunder Bay detectives shut the file on DeBungee, declaring it to be accidental, before the conclusion of an autopsy examination.

Perry discovered DeBungee’s debit card was used after his death and that his identification cards were strewn on the river bank near where he was found mixed in with the identification material of another individual who has not yet been found.

Hauth said the OPP review now also extends to the Keeash and Begg deaths.

Serious questions still remain around the deaths of three of seven First Nation youth who were the subject of a coroner’s inquest which ended in June 2016. Five of the seven youth died in Thunder Bay’s waterways and three of those deaths were found to be “undetermined” by the coroner’s jury.

Perry told APTN it’s highly possible foul play may be behind some of these river deaths.

The Thunder Bay police now says it is investigating whether Indigenous youth are being targeted.

[SOURCE]

Indigenous Youth from Northern Sask. Walking to Standing Rock

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie walking south of Regina on Highway 6, is one of eight Stanley Mission residents walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation in support of the protests towards the Dakota Access Pipeline. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie walking south of Regina on Highway 6, is one of eight Stanley Mission residents walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation in support of the protests towards the Dakota Access Pipeline. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Group from Stanley Mission passed through Regina Tuesday morning

By Brad Bellegarde, CBC News Posted: Dec 28, 2016

A group of eight young Indigenous men and women from Stanley Mission, Sask. passed through Regina on Tuesday as part of a 1400-kilometre journey on foot.

Their destination is the heart of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest located at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

The group has already walked more than 700 kilometres.

The organizer of the walk, Ricky Sanderson, said that the Husky Energy spill that happened earlier this year in central Saskatchewan was what sparked the idea for the trek.

“I was worried about my grandparents’ community,” said Sanderson. “They’re from James Smith (Cree Nation) and that pipeline leak was not far from their house.”

An oil leak from a Husky Energy pipeline in July, 2016, affected the water supply for the cities of Prince Albert and North Battleford.

The James Smith Cree Nation, located approximately 75 kilometres southeast of Prince Albert, was also affected by the spill.

Eight Indigenous youth from Stanley Mission are walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to create awareness about pipeline risks to the environment. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Eight Indigenous youth from Stanley Mission are walking to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to create awareness about pipeline risks to the environment. (William Desaulniers/CBC)

Sanderson said he is walking to create awareness for the potential damage pipelines could cause to the environment and to create awareness for future generations.

“If these pipelines go through our sacred burial grounds, our sacred lands, it will really affect the animals and the water we drink.”

‘We need to be there for Standing Rock’ – Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie

Marjorie Roberts-McKenzie is one of the walkers and she believes that it’s important for people to understand the potential disasters pipelines could cause.

She said the Standing Rock protests inspired her to take part in the journey from Stanley Mission.

The Standing Rock protests were a response to the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. The 1,900-kilometre, four-state pipeline was to be built near Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation and intended to run underneath a Missouri river reservoir.

Construction was halted in November by the United States government, however Roberts-McKenzie believes that it is only a temporary stop and now is the time to stand beside Standing Rock residents.

“We need to be there for Standing Rock,” she said. “We just want to support them to keep going and to stay strong.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/indigenous-youth-from-northern-sask-walking-to-standing-rock-1.3913569