By Chevi Rabbit
For Ponoka News
Recently, Montana Cree Nation has seen an alarming rate of youth suicides. The community is not alone in this struggle. Right across Canada, there is a sense of hopelessness in many First Nation communities. The Statistics Canada report entitled “Suicide among First Nations people, Métis and Inuit (2011-2016)” found that, overall, Indigenous people in Canada die by suicide at a rate three times higher than non-Indigenous Canadians.
There are many challenges and barriers for First Nations communities created by chronic underfunding on-reserve. The lived experiences of First Nation on-reserve are one that is negatively impacted by lack of housing, overcrowding on reserve, run-down homes, family violence, poor water quality, poverty, and intergenerational trauma, and unhealthy coping mechanisms that lead to substance abuse issues.
The situation off-reserve is no better in terms of the ghettoization of parts of major cities. Once an Indigenous person leaves their community they are immediately faced with gentrification struggles, racialized community stalking, fear of racialized harassment in businesses, a class struggle, and the all-mighty systematic racism.
COVID-19 has only exasperated existing social issues on and off-reserve.
Thank you for reading Spill the Tea with Rabbit.