A Canadian aboriginal community has declared a state of emergency after 11 people tried to commit suicide on Saturday.
The weekend’s incidents are the latest in a wave of attempted suicides that have overwhelmed the Attawapiskat First Nation, a community of about 2,000 people on James Bay in remote northern Ontario. Since September, 100 people have attempted suicide, reports to Canada’s CBC News, with 28 attempts in March alone. There has been one recorded death.
“Community frontline resources are exhausted, and no additional outside resources are available,” reads a document signed by Attawapiskat First Nation’s Chief Bruce Shisheesh and eight councilors, cited by Canada’s CTV News. In response, the regional organization of First Nations has dispatched a crisis response unit to the community, which will be joined by two representatives from Canada’s federal health agency.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sorrow on Twitter, saying: “The news from Attawapiskat is heartbreaking. We’ll continue to work to improve living conditions for all Indigenous peoples.”
According to Reuters, aboriginal Canadians experience poverty, crime, drug abuse and incarceration more often than other Canadians, and also have a lower life expectancy.