Community leaders hope new signs will curb drug dealing in Carmacks
'It won't cure addiction but what it will do is show that we have traditional values'
Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation has unveiled a pair of signs this past week to curb drug dealing in the Village of Carmacks.
The community's chief, Nicole Tom, said the goal of replacing similar signs that wore out and eventually disappeared is to raise awareness about a health crisis that is impacting the village and the rest of the Yukon.
"We could see and identify there was a large issue happening," Tom explained.
Tanya Silverfox, a Wolf clan councillor and the First Nation's health and social director, said the signs were designed by a local youth named Roxy Baker, and they each have four elders pictured on them. One has been placed at each end of the community.
"They're actually really amazing," Silverfox said. "She did a stunning job and really took it the extra mile to being something done for the community by the community."
One bears the message: "Make a safe and drug free place for our children and generations to come." The other says: "Drug dealers your way of living is our way of suffering."
The significance of having elders on the signs, said Tom, is that Northern Tutchone people are taught to respect their elders from a very young age.
"When you have your elders looking down right in your face and you know that what you're doing, or what you're engaging in may be wrong, it might give you some time to reflect."
Tom said there used to be different signs in the community, put up by a team of people worried about the opioid crisis and the emergence of fentanyl.
"We could see it moving all across the Yukon rapidly and really causing us grief and affecting us," she said.
Tom says the new signs won't fix the problem, but she hopes it'll get people's attention.
"I don't think it will cure addiction or sway drug dealers from the supply and demand but what it will do is show that we have traditional values and that we are willing to connect to that and to reflect."