OTTAWA, Nov. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today expressed support for the calls to action by the Uashat mak Mani-utenam Chief and Council following the suicide on October 31st of Nadeige Guanish, a young Innu woman from their community. This is the fifth suicide in the community in the past year.
"The AFN stands with the leadership of Uashat mak Mani-utenam in calling for clear and focused action to ensure safety and security for the entire community," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "We join their calls for action nationally, provincially and locally, including the specific measures they set out aimed at ensuring a healthy and safe community for all their people. The current situation is unacceptable. The Uashat mak Mani-utenam are putting forward a concrete plan and we must act now."
The Québec Government has announced it will hold a public inquest into the causes and the circumstances of the death of Mrs. Nadeige Guanish, a move welcomed by the Uashat mak Mani-utenam. The leadership is calling for the launch of the national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and supports the call by the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) for a provincial inquiry into systemic issues impairing relations between Québec institutions and First Nations, in particular law enforcement. The community is seeking specific action to address their situation, including:
- Adequate funding for the Uashat mak Mani-utenam police force (SPUM) in order to allow it to better meet the needs of the community. The police force is currently underfunded.
- Creation of mixed squad made up of the SPUM, the Sûreté du Québec and the RCMP to reduce the availability of illicit substances, especially given that Sept-Îles is the transit point for drugs in Eastern Québec.
- Support for prevention programmes in the community and programmes aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle.
- Support for crisis intervention workers and the establishment of a follow-up monitoring programme to prevent relapses and people returning to a state of crisis.
- Developing avenues with partners in the Québec network of specialized needs.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 382, 613-292-0857 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Jenna Young Castro, AFN Communications Officer (613) 241-6789 ext 401 or (613) 314-8157 or email@example.com