Northern First Nation declares state of emergency

Moose Cree First Nation has declared a state of emergency.

Moose Cree First Nation chief Peter Wesley and council announced on Nov. 24 that a state of emergency is in place regarding the drug crisis in the community.

“We will continue to keep the drugs crisis as a high priority, and together, we will continue to develop plans and strategies that will make a difference as we work towards our shared goal of keeping our people safe and healthy,” reads the statement on the Moose Cree First Nation Facebook page.

Chief and council are working with community partners and organizations to address the root causes of addiction and drug use.

The community is located on Moose Factory Island across the Moose River from Moosonee.

High numbers of overdoses and drug-related violence have put strains on first responders and social services in the community, said the statement.

“Our local NAPS detachment is currently facing an overwhelming number of service calls due to the drugs crisis,” read the statement. “Our community health services, mental health services and child and family services have seen escalating numbers of calls and referrals, most of which are due to the drugs crisis.”

They’ve called on the federal and provincial governments as treaty partners to provide financial and human resource help to build community-led public health, education, and harm reduction programs in the declaration.

They are also calling on law enforcement partners, NAPS and the OPP to increase policing and provide needed services in the community.

“We know the state of emergency declaration will not solve the drug problem, but the drug crisis requires many strategies and tactics if we are to bring about significant and meaningful change in our community,” read the statement. “By enacting emergency measures, we can secure additional resources to support our various local infrastructures.”

The state of emergency went into effect immediately on Nov. 24, and the declaration can be reviewed as needed.

Moose Cree First Nation enacted a bylaw in September that allows chief, council, and bylaw officers to declare anyone who is not a Moose Cree member a trespasser on reserve land if they threaten the health and safety of the First Nation’s members.

The community also held a walk on Sunday supporting the declaration and raising awareness of the crisis’s effect on Moose Factory.

Chief and council encouraged members to report any suspicious activity to their Local Call Centre toll-free at 1-888-310-1122 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 and offer support to community members who need it.

“Narcan and naloxone kits are available at the local health centre and the local pharmacy for those interested in obtaining kits,” said the statement.

TimminsToday has reached out to Moose Cree First Nation for further comment but has yet to hear back.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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