Over the past week, the conference room at the Thunder Bay Hotel has become home to a land-based healing and recovery program. There, about two hours down the highway, are her 17 women from Northern Indigenous tribes. These women are dependent on opioids, alcohol, crystal her methamphetamine (Ziv), and/or methadone. First Nations Community – Join us.
Around Lake Superior’s north shore, a devastation of drugs designed to treat extreme pain, including oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone, morphine and heroin, is growing, including the yellow needle-handling units plastered on the walls of many public restrooms. , everyone can see it. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit reports that from April 2021 to his March of this year, the death rate from opioids was 82.1 per 100,000, four times higher than her 18.7 per 100,000 in Ontario. doing. According to the CBC, in that district he saw a 50% increase in fatalities between 2020 and 2021, with about two deaths every five days.
Thunder Bay, a hub city in the north, is where many First Nations people access medical services for addiction, even though the city’s hospital and shelter system is already overwhelmed. The addiction stories I’ve heard are heartbreaking. essentially orphaned children who are routinely at risk of violence; The number of mothers so desperate for drugs that they sold their daughters to get high.
And the horrifying news about the actions of two brothers who reportedly lived and grew up in cycles of addiction and abuse brought a quiet sadness and deep understanding to those gathered in that hotel room. .
We still don’t know exactly what happened around the tragedy in Saskatchewan over the Labor Day long weekend. Ten people were killed and 18 wounded after a series of stabbings in the James Smith Cree Nation and nearby communities of Weldon, one of the suspects, Damian Sanderson, also named Prince He was found dead outside his First Nation home just east of Albert. Another suspect, his younger brother Miles — began drinking weed at age 12, using cocaine at age 14, and meth in his 20s, according to 20-year parole records. He was surrounded by domestic violence and substance abuse – was arrested on Wednesday but died after falling into what the RCMP called “medical distress”.
From the beginning, news reports cited members of the James Smith Cree community as blaming the attacks on addiction. …the battle we are fighting here is alcoholism and drug use,” Darryl Burns, whose sister Gloria was killed, told Global News.
Miles Sanderson’s parole record bears it out, citing “the intergenerational impact of boarding school.” It was, in effect, a case study that could emerge after decades of genocide and the system’s inability to account for the human losses of historic colonialism.
When Canada’s last Indian boarding school closed in 1996, there was nothing to help the survivors who struggled to rebuild their ragged lives. In many cases, they returned to indigenous peoples in free fall, to families torn apart by federal policies enacted by religious orders that resorted to abuse. Instead of acknowledging genocide, Canada turned away and dismissed these as Indigenous peoples’ problems.
Successive governments in Canada have effectively wiped out many of the children of survivors instead of setting up mental health clinics, traditional treatment centers, or places to care for wounded or destroyed minds. It offered nothing more than child welfare and a prison system that took them. Children who are separated from their homes and communities and have no sense of belonging.
That’s how violence manifests itself. Through trauma, left unrestrained.
We have seen what happens when we fail to address the social impact of boarding schools and racist policies such as Indian law. , until the national investigation into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls, there have been countless reports warning of continued inaction by Canada.
So it’s time for Canada to take responsibility and enact the giant Marshall Plan. Come along with our community. Hear stories from indigenous peoples and leaders. Bring true reconciliation to those cold, empty words that have left us in a seemingly inescapable state of violent current.
The story of Miles Sanderson is well known. But it doesn’t have to be.