The Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at Brock University gathered for a tobacco ceremony and prayer vigil in front of the Schmon Tower Thursday, April 21.
The ceremony was in response to the suicide epidemics facing the northern First Nations communities of Attawapiskat, Ont. and Cross Lake, Man.
More than two dozen people stood in a circle and took part in the tobacco ceremony, drumming and songs aimed to send love and hope to the communities in crisis.
Last week, Attawapiskat’s chief and eight councillors declared a state of emergency, citing 11 suicide attempts in one night this month and 28 recorded attempts in March in their small community of less than 2,000 people.
Equally heartbreaking is the reportedly more than 140 people attempting or threatening to kill themselves in a recent two-week period in the northern Manitoba community of Pimicikamak Cree Nation (Cross Lake), which has a population of 6,000.
Most of the deaths or attempted suicides in these communities are youth, of the same age or younger, than most first-year Brock students.
• The Indigenous Solidarity Coalition at Brock is dedicated to providing people in the Brock community and the Niagara Region the opportunity to engage in events which raise awareness and foster activism surrounding Indigenous issues.