Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, First Nation leaders and health officials appeared before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on Thursday April 14 to present recommendations to address suicide and the health emergency in the NAN territory.
“We look forward to appearing before the Committee and welcome the opportunity to provide recommendations to the Government of Canada on action needed to address the suicide crisis and the health emergency across NAN territory,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “The current crisis in Attawapiskat First Nation has garnered international attention and the eyes of the world are on Canada. We will ask for this government to work with us to develop immediate action to significantly improve the state of health in our First Nations.”
The suicide crisis in Attawapiskat comes on the 140th anniversary of The Indian Act, highlighting a legacy of colonialization that has relegated First Nations to poverty and despair while the rest of Canada has prospered.
“It is shameful that after 140 years under The Indian Act our First Nations are still struggling to meet the basics of everyday life. Many of our people have lost hope over the generations, and our communities are in perpetual crisis,” said Fiddler. “We need to move beyond these states of emergency and crises and begin to work toward longer-term solutions - we have to address the underlying issues.”
NAN presented to the Standing Committee with others participating being: Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, Chiefs of Ontario; Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon, Mushkegowuk Council; Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, Nishnawbe Aski Nation; Board Chair John Cutfeet, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority.