"For any community, suicide is a potent reality to the fragility of our human bodies.
Among Aboriginal peoples, the tendency is to fear success in an attempt to justify setbacks and a perceived “non-acceptance” view that is often an adopted coping mechanism. Native artist Benjamin Chee Chee was on his way to becoming a full-blown international sensation in both North America and Western Europe when he committed suicide in 1989 after suffering a lifetime struggle against substance abuse and alcoholism.Former minister and Liberal Party member Robert Nault of the Kenora Rainy River Region, Ont., addressed the House of Commons in 1989, asking why in two and half years in six communities 40 youth committed suicide?
Suicide could be seen as an answer to a lifetime of trouble because none of the core coping skills needed were passed on. Residential school survivors’ children suffered and became the first generation as churches tried to assimilate Aboriginals, leading to the total destruction of a people’s way of life. History documents numerous accounts of mistreatment and the current generation is acceptance of the need to acknowledge that.
However, that current generation also wants to see a recovery and positive changes in our aboriginal communities — a visual and vital payoff for their taxes allotted to First Nations governments.What is looked to as a severe depletion in social integration often becomes a rightful claim to culture and tradition that is made and tenuously held onto."
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Preston Twoyoungmen: Let’s talk about solutions
(The Cochrane Eagle 11/9)