Manitoba First Nation declares state of emergency after four suicides

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba First Nation declared a state of emergency effective Oct. 9 after a rash of suicides in the community.

According to a news release issued on Oct. 10 from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AFM), there had been three suicides in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in the past week, and four in the past month.

The AFM noted there had also been several documented suicide attempts.

AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said the news is “devastating” and he stands by the First Nation, Chief Jennifer Bone, and her leadership in declaring the state of emergency.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those we’ve recently lost as well as support to all community members dealing with these tragedies amidst a global pandemic,” Dumas said in the release.

Bone said it has been a difficult time for Sioux Valley, noting there have been funerals every week and it is wearing people down.

Bone added her council and management team have been working to help in any way possible, but they need federal support to deal with the crisis.

“I want every First Nation citizen to know that they are not alone. I am here. Your families and friends are here. Reach out and we will do everything in our power to give you every support available. You are not alone,” she said.

 Anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts can call the Manitoba suicide prevention and support line at 1-877-435-7170. More crisis support resources can be found online at Klinic Community Health.

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