OPINION: How have we grown numb to the suicide of Indigenous children? – by Tanya Talaga (Globe and Mail – November 27, 2023)


“There have been at least 599 reported deaths by suicide in 30 Northwestern Ontario First Nations between 1986 and June, 2023 – a staggering number that is already out of date as I write this.”

In another world, the death of 11-year-old Elaina Cecilia Nancy Beardy would have shaken Canada’s smug belief that this country offers all its children a good and safe start. Her death would have been the lead story on newscasts and in newspapers, inspiring governments and all of society to move mountains to ensure this never happens again.

Instead, Elaina’s death by suicide on Oct. 28 scarcely received any public mention or attention outside of her family’s northern Ontario communities of Kingfisher Lake First Nation and the neighbouring Sachigo Lake First Nation, situated about 350 km and 450 km north of Sioux Lookout, respectively.

Princess Elaina, as her family called her, wore glasses, had dark hair and a beautiful smile. She was laid to rest in snowy Kingfisher on Nov. 11. It took a couple of weeks for her to return there because her body had to be flown all the way to Toronto to be examined by Ontario’s coroner’s office, because of a lack of services in Thunder Bay – adding injury to an already traumatized family.

Fear now permeates Elaina’s community as parents and family members in the fly-in Oji-Cree community worry that other children will follow in her wake – that her death was part of a pact.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-how-have-we-grown-numb-to-the-suicide-of-indigenous-children/