UOI OFFICES, Nipissing First Nation (March 1, 2017)—The Anishinabek Nation leadership support the recent call for a National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits placed by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and the AFN National Executive including the AFN Elders, Women’s and Youth Councils, prompted by the growing national suicide crises facing First Nations people.
“This ceremony is needed to give some hope and spiritual guidance on the issue of suicide to all of our people. But this ceremony is especially needed in order to support our youth,” stated Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. “We support this much needed day of prayer.”
The increasing numbers of suicide or attempting or threatening suicide indicating levels of despair on the rise amongst First Nation peoples, in particular teenagers and young adults, is alarming for all communities.
“This ceremony has to happen,” stated Deputy Grand Council Chief Glen Hare. “We have to bring our youth together to let it out and we have to listen.”
The intention of this ceremony is to inspire youth to embrace life and choose life, and bring peace and healing for First Nation people. This ceremony will also serve as a reminder that there is continued work to be done to end poverty and despair within the First Nations communities in order to provide children with the services they need to grow up safely within their community, receive a parallel education to non-Indigenous students, be healthy, and be proud of their Indigenous roots.
The AFN will be providing additional information regarding the National Circle of Ceremony and Healing for Our Spirits ceremony on their Event page on the AFN Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AssemblyofFirstNations/
The UOI is a political advocate for 40 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact. The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949.