Authorities of an Indian reservation that is located in northern Ontario have declared a state of emergency after 11 individuals tried to commit suicide during the night. In March, the community of Attawapiskat, which is inhabited by the Cree Indians, faced 28 suicide attempts. There have been more than 100 attempts since last September, and at least one person managed to commit suicide.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the situation in the community as heartbreaking.
There are about 1.4 million aboriginal inhabitants in Canada. Most of them live in conditions of extreme poverty and their life expectancy is much lower than the average index in the rest of Canada.
Bruce Shisheesh, the Chief of the Cree community in Attawapiskat, said he announced the state of emergency after 11 people had attempted suicide on Sunday.
In general, Attawapiskat has about 1500 residents.
The village is geographically isolated. It is located to the north of the province of Ontario on the west coast of Hudson Bay.
The community faces a high level of unemployment and alcoholism. The residents also complain about the lack of houses and high food prices.
A representative of Canadian Ministry of Health said that they had sent two psychologists to the village.
Charlie Angus, who acts as a local deputy of the federal parliament, considers the situation in the village of Attawapiskat and other aboriginal settlements to be a national disaster.
According to him, these communities are in a crucial situation and the government hasn’t responded to it yet.
"If this happened somewhere else, there would be an immediate reaction. I cannot remember how many times they have claimed the state of emergency in Hudson Bay," he says.
PM Trudeau in his turn claimed that the government continues to do everything possible to improve living conditions in aboriginal settlements.
In March, the authorities of the other Indian reservation of Manitoba appealed to the federal government after two months earlier six residents of the reservation had committed suicide and 140 people had attempted suicide during two weeks.