Peter Ballantyne Chief supports calls to action on youth suicide

By Bryan Eneas
December 7, 2017 - 2:00pm

A special report on youth suicide in northern Saskatchewan, released earlier this week, is winning praise from the chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.

Chief Peter A. Beatty said he had a chance to read the report and he fully supports what he read.

“I think it’s very important that we hear the voice of the youth, and what exactly is it that they need to have us do in terms of supporting them in their struggles, especially in today’s world,” Beatty said. “It’s a different world. They have their perspective and it’s important for us, as leadership, to be able to hear those voices.”

Beatty said his generation didn’t face as much outside influence as today's youth, who are growing up with the Internet and social media.

“Everything is so instant now, especially in terms of social media and cyberbullying; we didn’t encounter that in our youth,” Beatty said. “It’s important for us to understand that.”

The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation has a special connection to one of the calls to action issued on Dec. 5.

Saskatchewan Youth and Child Advocate Corey O’Soup called on provincial and federal leaders to implement Jordan’s Principle in full. Jordan’s Principle settles jurisdictional disputes between the government of Canada and provincial or territorial governments regarding payments for Indigenous children in care. The principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, from Norway House in Manitoba. Anderson passed away after a two-year dispute between the provincial and federal governments about who should pay for his at-home medical bills.

Anderson’s mother is a Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation member, according to Beatty. He said the call to implement Jordan’s Principle is going to go a long way.

“It’s an important call in his calls to action to implement Jordan’s Principle,” Beatty said. “It’s important we address [cases like Jordan’s] whether it’s the provincial government, or the federal government, whoever is the first responder.”

Beatty is not the first Saskatchewan chief to praise the report. Earlier this week Tammy Cook-Searson, chief of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, said the report accurately captured the voices of First Nations youth, and allowed them to be part of the solutions.


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