Indian Country 42 #35 – Broken Society (Bands Aid)
“This cycle of abuse, combined with deplorable living conditions, often made Amber contemplate suicide herself. She says she first attempted suicide at the age of 12: “It’s just a reality we live with. It’s easier to end [your life] than to get help in most cases.”
Stacy Wormell-Street, director of operations at ASK Wellness Society (a non-profit helping indigenous communities struggling with addiction) agrees the impact of residential schools – the last of which closed its doors in 1996 – still permeates indigenous communities today.
“The deep-rooted trauma which Canada’s aboriginal people suffered through the assimilation of their culture by the Canadian government has been carried on through generations,” she says. “Today we continue to see a drastic and tragic rise in death by suicide within our aboriginal youth.”
According to Wormell-Street, many children are being lost into the child welfare system because mothers and fathers do not have the supports necessary to make good decisions. “Our society is broken,” she says. “We are failing our future generations – this is unacceptable and it is time for change.”
Katrina, who received help from counsellors and went through an outreach programme aimed at helping youth struggling with depression and anxiety, feels lucky to have been given another opportunity at life.
“I know so many kids who never got this kind of help – it’s sad,” she says. “I understand why [they kill themselves]. I felt ashamed of who I was. And I felt like I had nothing to live for.””
– The Guardian,
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country. Follow the series: Indian Country 52