Trudeau Meets With The Community Of James Smith Cree Nation
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Trudeau Meets With The Community Of James Smith Cree Nation

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$62.5 million in funding announced for mental health

For several days in September of 2022, the small First Nations community of the James Smith Cree Nation was rocked by multiple stabbings at the hands of two brothers, Damien Sanderson and Miles Sanderson. The stabbings resulting the death of 11 people and numerous injuries. 

 According to R.C.M.P. reports, Damien Sanderson was a victim of homicide at the hands of his brother Myles, who also is deceased. Murder suspect Myles Sanderson dead after going into medical distress after being transported to Saskatoon general hospital. 

With trauma, there needs to be a time of healing. Last night Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau travelled to James Smith Cree Nation and announced mental health support for those impacted by the tragic attacks in September.

The Prime Minister announced that $62.5 million would be invested over six years, starting this year, with $4.5 million continuing to support the healing, mental health and wellbeing of those affected by September’s tragic events and Indigenous-led approaches to community safety. 

James Smith Cree Nation people must have access to culturally grounded mental health and addiction care, and today we are taking action to guarantee that access is improved for them.

“Today, I heard first-hand the pain, sorrow, anger, and grief that people here in the community of James Smith Cree Nation are feeling. Canadians are mourning with you. More access to mental health and addictions care will help create a safer and healthier community, and to the people of James Smith Cree Nation: the government will be your partner every step of the way on your healing journey.” 

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“From tragedy to healing is a long journey, but the people and leadership of James Smith Cree Nation have stayed strong. Healing takes time and ongoing support. It’s why we will continue to support and fund Indigenous-led and designed health approaches. There is so much more to do to transform systems of care to ensure Indigenous Peoples can access health and wellness supports that are safe, culturally centred and equitable. The federal government remains committed to being a strong partner in this work.”

The Hon. Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister 

“We are thankful for his visit – his kind words were profoundly touching as our community members continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. We recognize that Prime Minister Trudeau and his government were responsive to our immediate needs for emergency health supports immediately after the incident, which helped us during a time of great turmoil. His visit gives us confidence that we can continue to work together to meet our long-term goals that include our need for treatment centres and self-administered policing.”

Chief Wally Burns, James Smith Cree Nation

The path to healing will be long and will have many challenges. One thing is sure, the James Smith Cree Nation community is resilient and is doing everything possible to ensure the communities spirits remain high and strong in the face of tragedy. 

Image source, Trudeau social media

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