First Nations leadership is asking young people to tell them how to deal with a youth suicide crisis in Northern Saskatchewan.
Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) joined Grand Chief Ron Michel of the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) in Saskatoon Tuesday to announce the Community Medicine Gathering, scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6 in Prince Albert.
Cameron said the FSIN needs to gather input directly from youth, parents, experts and educators as it continues grappling with a crisis that has seen six young girls take their own lives since mid-October.
“It’s about getting their input, their communication on how best we can support, stand beside, stand behind — anything that we can do to assist in reaching out to our youth,” he said.
Michel said he knows there are many young people who are role models in their communities, and he’s hoping they’ll come away from the conference inspired to be sources of support for their peers.
“All of us around here were kids at one time, and you would sooner talk to your friend sometimes,” he said.
Michel said he wanted to assure young people that their voices will be heard and their suggestions taken seriously.
“We cannot stand by as leaders…to go to funerals. We have to start doing something,” he said.
Cameron said the Community Medicine Gathering will feature presentations from experts, along with a wide-ranging open forum for youth to bring their concerns and their ideas right to their leaders.
The event runs Dec. 5-6 at Plaza 88 in Prince Albert, Sask.
People who want to register can contact Sheryl Kimbley at 306-980-8501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.