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Mikisew Cree declares state of emergency

Last Updated Apr 25, 2023 at 11:16 am MDT

Chief Billy-Joe Tuccaro of the Mikisew Cree First Nation in a Facebook video on April 24, 2023. (Courtesy: Facebook/MCFN Band Government & Administration)

A northern Alberta First Nation has declared a state of emergency due to an increase in suicides and suicide attempts within the community.

Mikisew Cree First Nation declared the state of emergency Monday for Fort Chipewyan.

Community leaders say they are “gravely concerned about the imminent potential of suicidal clusters, suicidal ideations, and suicidal planning among our youth.”

The First Nation is calling on support from the federal and provincial governments.

“Our Nation urgently needs mental health support in our community to address the immediate and short-term crisis and sustained funding for mental health and addictions in the long term, focusing on health promotion, prevention and reclaiming cultural identity,” MCFN said in a release.

The First Nation’s Chief and Council says it executed a zero tolerance for illegal drug use, possession, manufacturing, and trafficking on Feb. 1.