Protest at Regina Indigenous Affairs office part of nation-wide action on suicide crisis
'They need help,' Robyn Pitawanakwat addresses First Nations reeling from suicide crisis
A protest took place Friday outside the Regina offices of the federal government's Indigenous and Northern Affairs ministry.
People gathered to add their voices to those expressing concern over the suicide crisis unfolding in northern Ontario's Attawapiskat First Nation.
Robyn Pitawanakwat helped organize the Regina event.
She said the problems facing Attawapiskat are well known in Saskatchewan communities.
"It's an old story," she said. "It's a tired story, but nobody is more tired than the people in these communities. They need help."
Pitawanakwat said immediate action is needed to address the underlying issues that led to the crisis.
"They need the basic necessities of life," she said.
Pitawanakwat added that a fundamental change is also needed when it comes to how First Nations communities operate.
"The idea that we cannot administrate our own communities and our own funds is ridiculous," she said. "There are people who have never been to these communities deciding who gets the money and it needs to stop."
Activists have been held demonstrations at federal offices in other cities, including Toronto and Winnipeg.
Their common theme is the message that "band-aid fixes" are an inadequate response to the problems faced by many First Nations communities.