Re: Nine people dead in a house fire in Pikangikum First Nation.

Dear Editor,

Today I read a horrible news headline which none of us should ever have to read.

Nine people dead in a house fire in Pikangikum First Nation.

Since reading this article, I have read several stories and studies about Pikangikum that were done there on health, suicides and housing conditions and it really angers me.

Most politicians are all quick to say their thoughts are with the people there when even some of those same politicians and their departments have known for a long time what the conditions were like there and have made no efforts to help because of financial reasons.

Holy hell, if it were a non-native community living 28 hours from Toronto in these conditions there would be more action taken. I never play the race card but I truly believe this to be true. Their local MP is Robert Nault who was the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and who placed them on third party management in 2008 just when the coroner’s report on suicides there came out. Fifteen suicides in two years!

Today Robert Naults comments on the fire that claimed nine lives there last night (March 30) was that counsellors were being sent there. How the hell is that supposed to help? Counselling is not a native way. That community will help each other with what they require emotionally. What they do need is some concrete help with running water, better homes and all of the things that should be a basic human right today.

I can only hope that the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will get his ministers working together to work with this community. They don’t need more counsellors every time a tragedy or a suicide happens they need concrete solutions. They need a hand up!

Pam Montour

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