Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is standing with the people of North Spirit Lake First Nation after Chief Caroline Keesic declared a State of Emergency.
A community crisis is fueled by an escalation of drug addiction and a breakdown of the water system.
“Our people are suffering, and we are beyond our ability to respond with the necessary supports,” said Chief Keesic. “We had no choice but to call this State of Emergency as we require an immediate response from the appropriate federal and provincial agencies with resources to support our members suffering from harmful addictions and to help leadership stabilize the community.”
North Spirit Lake in Ontario is accessible only by air and seasonal winter roads. It is located about 170 km northeast of Red Lake, Ont.
Interruptions in essential services such as power and water are due to a lack of operational personnel, reads a statement. NAPS police officers and nursing staff are operating at maximum capacity.
Chief and council are calling on all appropriate governmental departments, agencies, and partners to deploy critical resources and relief.
“Chief and Council are overwhelmed and the situation is beyond their ability to continue to cope alone,” said Grand Chief Fiddler.
“We are mobilizing an emergency response to provide immediate assistance and are doing everything we can to try to stabilize and support the community. We are coordinating shipments of food, clothing and other supplies that will be sent to the community as soon as possible.”
A crisis team to reach the community as quickly as possible to provide mental health and other supports is being arranged by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said Fiddler.
“We know the community is in crisis and we want the people of North Spirit Lake to know that help is on the way.”