"Our little girls are dying," Kimberly Jonathan, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, tells the CBC. On Sunday, a 13-year-old girl killed herself in an Indigenous community in northern Canada, the Canadian Press reports. She was the sixth Indigenous girl to commit suicide in the province of Saskatchewan last month. The other five girls were between the ages of 10 and 14. "Our youth ought to be planning their future and celebrating their successes; instead, there's despair and hopelessness," Jonathan tells CBC. The deaths have left politicians and advocates scrambling to find answers.
“There are long-standing inequities and inadequacies too often dismissed by government that require immediate, long-term action," Trent Wotherspoon, leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party, tells the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. He says Indigenous communities need everything from better classrooms to improved addiction services. A new children's advocate starting Tuesday in Saskatchewan will make "the plight of northern youth" a focus. And there is talk about launching self-esteem workshops for girls in northern parts of the province. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the federal government will work with Indigenous communities to solve this problem. (One Indigenous community in Ontario had 11 suicide attempts in a single day.)