Saskatoon

'Our kids are crying out for help,' says Sask. chief

The voices of First Nations youth will take centre stage at a conference on suicide next month in Prince Albert, Sask.

Suicide conference to hear from First Nations youth

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron announced plans for a youth conference on suicide. (Jason Warick/CBC)

First Nations youth will gather in Prince Albert to find solutions to the recent wave of suicides plaguing northern Saskatchewan.

At the Dec. 5 and 6 event, they'll talk about colonization, cultural pride and solutions that have worked in their communities.

One key session will ask participants to envision a "suicide-free community in five years."

Things are getting worse … Our kids are crying out for help.- Ron Michel, Prince Albert Grand Council chief

The conference was announced Tuesday by Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron and Prince Albert Grand Council Chief Ron Michel.

"We're going to strategize about what we can do about these crises. We can no longer wait. We can no longer stand by," Michel said.

"Things are getting worse … Our kids are crying out for help."

The conference will include elders, leaders and experts, but the voices of youth must take centre stage, Cameron said: "Their voice matters. Their lives matter. Their opinions matter."

Cameron said he's confident other levels of government will help with needed mental health supports and any other needs identified. One specific proposal Cameron mentioned is the wellness centre proposed by Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson and others.

Cameron and Michel plan to travel to La Ronge, Sask., later this week, where Premier Brad Wall is also expected to visit.

now