Ontario Legislature Takes Moment of Silence over Bearskin Lake Youth Suicide

Bearskin Lake FN Students enjoying a break during an outing from class
Bearskin Lake FN Students enjoying a break during an outing from class

QUEENS PARK – The epidemic of youth suicide in Northern Ontario First Nation’s communities was brought forward in Queen’s Park today as NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa sought the consent of the Ontario Legislature for a moment of silence by MPPs following the tragic death, by suicide, of a young 13-year-old girl in Bearskin Lake First Nation.

“Today, I asked for a moment of silence at end of Question Period. It was in memory of a 13-year-old First Nation girl that died by suicide in my riding yesterday morning. Prayers and thoughts to Bearskin Lake and family affected in this tragedy” stated Mamakwa. “Also, I would like to thank my MPP colleagues for standing in solidarity with me to honour the life of this young girl, Karlena Kamenawatamin.”

The issue of youth suicide in Northern Ontario First Nation communities has been called a crisis by many community leaders and by Chiefs of Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus said, “I offer my deep sorrow to families of Bearskin Lake following the suicide of a youth of 13. She was loved. The suicide rate in youth under 15 in Treaty 9 is 50 times higher than the national average. It is a pandemic. The time has come for a national suicide prevention plan.

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