As you’ve likely already heard, the First Nations community of Attawapiskat has been gripped by a suicide crisis.
The problem has become so severe, that the remote community declared a state of emergency this week in an effort to help deal with it. Health Canada has already sent in crisis teams, while Indigenous leaders and the government scramble to find solutions. But in the middle of all that chaos, many of Attawapiskat’s youth are coming together to propose solutions of their own.
Take Rebecca-lynn Hookimaw, for example, whose sister committed suicide at the age of 13. She recently joined other members of the community to write up a list of things they believe will benefit the area and put an end to the crisis once and for all.
“Some of the youth workin. Making plans, taking action, workin together,” she wrote on Facebook.
The group began by compiling a list of the things they already have that they believe are beneficial to the community, such as its playground, gym and healing lodge:
Then, they thought about what the community still needs:
Demonstrating that these youth are wise beyond their years, they even compiled a list of actions they need to take to help bring about these changes:
Finally, they took note of the possible individuals, groups and organizations that could lend them a helping hand:
Not bad for a bunch of kids, eh?
The post has been really well received on Facebook, with Canadians across the country showing their support for Attawapiskat.
“We are hearing your voices! You are the generation that can bring about change. Keep speaking out! Changes is imminent! We are gathering two entire secondary schools tomorrow to present to our students the challenges of your community. Their words will be reaching you soon,” one Facebook user wrote.
“Thank you for sharing there are alot (sic) of people that do care and are appalled at the conditions in not only your community but in many of our First Nations communities. Unless we see it on the news we don’t know what is happening. We would like to help but don’t know how or what we can do. By sharing your stories we can at least keep you in our prayers. We can tell our Governments that we expect change to happen!” wrote another.
It’s worth noting that Attawapiskat’s children and teens are among the most heavily affected by the suicide crisis, demonstrated by various suicide pacts involving kids as young as nine years old. It’s definitely empowering to see many of them coming together to help put a stop to it.
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide, Health Canada offers potentially life-saving advice and resources right here.
To learn more about the crisis in Attawapiskat, check out the videos below: