There is an urgent cry across Canada right now — a rash of suicides amongst Indigenous youth.
First Peoples in communities across Canada are living in desperate circumstances — no access to potable water, overcrowded living conditions, parents and grandparents who were severely abused through the residential school system, etc. This results in the unimaginable for children living there.
Indigenous children and youth today suffer greatly because their parents were forced to attend residential schools, which were created to strip the youth of their culture and identity. In these schools, they were severly abused, experimented on, unloved and never nurtured, given no models for parenting, and thousands laid to rest in mass graves or simply unaccounted for. The last residential school closed its doors in 1996 -- that's right, just over 20 years ago!
The following articles outline the horrors of this system, but the sadness on the faces of the children attests to the truth, beyond mere words.
It is difficult to imagine that Canada would have its own hidden third world. Many Indigenous communities, in addition to the difficulties already described, live without electricity and running water, and in tents where winter temperatures often reach -40 degrees Celsius. The present Canadian government and Prime Minister have made important steps toward building a better relationship with Indigenous communities. But we all know that the government is limited in its scope of action by the will of the people. And the government in itself cannot solve every problem – Indigenous youth have reached an absolute crisis point, and we must as citizens extend our friendship and care with concrete action!
By spreading the word about our mission and by helping to meet specific needs:
- You are telling Indigenous communities that you really do care
- You are telling the Canadian government that this issue really does matter to you
- You are letting the youth know that they really are loved!
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS ON EDUCATION:
A report from 2010 shows the suicide rate for some First Nations is 50 times the Canadian average for children under 15 years old.
Photo credit: Macleans.ca
Photo credit: National Post