APTN National News
A 13 year-old girl, along with a young man and woman, both 18, recently committed suicide in the northern Ontario First Nation of Pikangikum, according to a community member.
The three suicides have left the community grappling with grief amid fears this could trigger more suicides, said retired teacher and community member Eddy Quill.
Quill said the 18 year-old young man committed suicide on his birthday last week. He was buried Monday. The 18 year-old young woman was buried on Saturday and the 13 year-old girl was buried a little over a week ago, said Quill.
“I am not sure what to say,” said Quill. “I don’t know, I can’t explain what is going on with these young people.”
Quill said he was a teacher in the community back in the 1980s and he has seen similar cycles of death over the years.
“I seen a lot not make it to adulthood,” he said. “A lot of kids we lost along the way.”
Quill said the band council has been overwhelmed dealing with the suicides, arranging burials and providing counselling services to grieving parents and family members.
“I am trying to keep my family together, staying home, not going anywhere,” he said. “We have their pictures on our mantelpiece.”
Last April, a house fire killed a family of nine in the community, including an infant and two toddlers.
Pikangikum is a fly-in Ojibway community which sits about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.