WINNIPEG – In partnership, Nanaandawewigamig (First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba) and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will be hosting a Raising Hope Fundraising Gala: Youth Coalition on Suicide Prevention on May 20, 2016 at the Marlborough Hotel, Skyview Ballroom, in Winnipeg.
In the first three months of 2016, Pimicikamak Cree Nation lost six youth to suicide and issued calls for action as the Nation has been in a continuous state of emergency since 1997. This is not a new emergency or a unique circumstance. It is a recurring trauma. Youth suicide is a common reality for all Indigenous Peoples, particularly for Nations isolated physically and socially by ongoing campaigns of colonization and cultural genocide, and too, for all the people displaced from home.
“Our youth deserve our love. That is the priority. We owe it to them to do the difficult work to heal from all the assaults on our spirit, the theft and destruction of the land, the changing and poisoning of the water. Our priority is to heal our Nations, because what you do to the land you do to the People. That healing… we do for each other. We owe it to our children and we know our own strength,” stated Chief Cathy Merrick, Chairperson of Nanaandawewigamig.
Suicide touches every First Nation community in Manitoba. 12 of our 63 First Nation Communities have had a higher number of suicides in the last year and have been selected as part of the initial Youth Coalition on Suicide Prevention. The funds raised will be seed money to support the Youth Coalition as they participate in ‘My Reflection – a Youth Inquiry’, and will form a delegation to attend the National Youth Summit at the AFN Assembly in July of 2016 where they will meet with the Minister to discuss youth suicide prevention & mental wellness.
“Every child carries unique gifts, but unfortunately not every child is able to share their gifts due to youth suicide. Suicide has been a quiet epidemic that has taken many lives of First Nation youth. It is saddening to see children at a young age feel the need to end their life before it even begins. To help prevent such realities AMC and Nanaandawewigamig will begin this initiative to bring hope to communities and to empower youth so they do not feel the need to resort to taking their own life,” stated Grand Chief Derek Nepinak.
The Raising Hope Fundraising Gala starts at 5:00 pm on May 20, 2016. There is tons of entertainment ending with a live auction and silent auction. Donations are continuously being accepted as all funds raised go straight to the Youth Secretariat in their feat to Raise Hope & build the Youth Coalition on Suicide Prevention.