Cree mother of young girl in Saskatchewan who took her own life speaking out

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support using the technology of their choice (phone, text or chat), in French or English: Phone: toll-free 1-833-456-4566  Text: 45645 Chat: crisisservicescanada.ca

Priscilla Wolf
APTN News
The mother of a ten year old girl in the community of Makwa Sahgaienkan who took her own life is speaking out to try and stop others who may be thinking of taking their lives by suicide.

Dorothy Angus says she remembers sitting not too long ago with her daughter Jaylyn in the community hall at a wake for her friend.

She told her daughter not to take her own life like her friend did.

“I said to her ‘promise me don’t ever, ever do that to me don’t ever do it to me because I said its going to be so painful,’” she told APTN News.

But last week, Jaylyn did just that.

“I want to know why did she did this, what were her reasons behind doing this to herself,” Angus said.

According to her mother, Jaylyn was bullied for a time but thought that was behind her.

“Maybe she was still bullied and never said anything because she had a good home life with us,” she said.

Now, even with this recent tragedy, Angus who is a school teacher at the band school and knows most of the kids in the community, is speaking up because she wants the suicides to stop.

She says she finds strength in speaking for her daughter.

“My message is to just go to parents, especially parents, like even if you don’t see no signs because I didn’t, we didn’t – just hold your kids tight let them know they are loved so much,” she said.

Angus has another message for youth.

“Anything that needs to be that they need to talk about don’t keep it in them like talk to somebody there’s people out there that are going to listen,” she said.

“I am her voice now and if I don’t speak out and let others know that what has happened to my little girl.”

The young people in the community put together their own message.

They asked Angus to share it.

“We the children and youth of Makwa Sahgaiekan First Nation are asking all of you to listen to us and open to hear what we have to say we hope you can respect and understand our position,” the children wrote. “Right now we see many of our adults drinking and doing drugs you are gambling and playing bingo too much and we feel like you are ignoring us.

“Please hear our cries and stop the abuse we don’t know what native culture or native tradition really mean.We want to be taught about our history and our traditions please help us to understand.”

Grief councillors have been brought in to work with students and teachers.

But according to one councillor, the school is over-crowded and the grief councillors have to find their own space to help people including going for drives to get some privacy.

Everyone is overwhelmed and they don’t have enough mental health support to help.

Since the suicide Nov. 21, there have been nine more attempts – one as recently as today.

Councillor Tommy Littlespruce says the Cree community of 1,000 people all know someone who died by suicide.

“In the last four months we had four suicides,” he said. “Can’t count how many attempts.

“Just imagine every other day there is an attempt.”

Makwa Sahgaiehcan Chief Ronald Miitsuing travelled to Regina to ask the provincial government for help.

“I am asking the provincial government to suicide strategic plan in place and also the federal government to jump in and help us out,” he said. “If they are having trouble drafting a bill maybe they can ask us to help them draft a bill.

“Do something together lets try save these lives.”

Today there was a funeral for a 12 year old girl in the neighbouring First Nation of Ministikwan-Island Lake first Nation.

“These issues are happening in a number of our communities. We have a province-wide Suicide Prevention Strategy ready and we have been calling for its’ implementation, but yet we are still burying our children” said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron in a statement released late Thursday afternoon.

“How many more First Nations children need to be buried before the Government stands up and says no more?  We are calling for the immediate implementation of this suicide prevention strategy.”

For Dorothy Angus it’s too late for any strategy.

She’s left thinking about her daughter and the reasons why she took her own life – asking questions that will never be answered.

“She was only ten years old at that mind how could you think that way?” she asked.

“Like she never spoke to me she never spoke to us on any problems.”

[email protected]

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service enables callers anywhere in Canada to access crisis support using the technology of their choice (phone, text or chat), in French or English: Phone: toll-free 1-833-456-4566  Text: 45645 Chat: crisisservicescanada.ca

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.


1 thought on “Cree mother of young girl in Saskatchewan who took her own life speaking out

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