(NORTH SPIRIT LAKE, ON) – Since the northern community of North Spirit Lake declared a state of emergency, we have been digging to find out what was going on.
What we have learned through speaking with the members of the community and those in the know, is that substance abuse has hit the small community hard.
The community has a seasonal access road and a small airport for which people and drugs come in and out. Other than drugs, “homebrew” alcohol also known as “swish” is also a serious concern in the area.
Numerous members of the community are upset that the water situation has gotten as bad as it has and some are pointing the blame at Chief and Council with a noted exception of council woman Rita Thompson, who has been in the community and supporting members and situations as needed.
Water stopped flowing which resulted in NAPS leaving the community, according to community members. Shortly after NAPS left, chaos erupted in a Xanax fueled violent incident which had 3-4 people flown out of the community, at least 1 with stab wounds.
Below is what the community members have to say.
Destiny Meekis said:
“Ok, where the fuck is my chief and the rest of the council members!? Like where are you guys? Why didn’t you come home? Do you even realize that something bad has happened everyday this week? I feel like I just wanna run away. My community is breaking my heart. Sunday morning; a house burns down and no one bats an eye. Monday night; the power goes off due to lack of fuel at the plant. Tuesday; one person stabbed, three people medivaced, NAPS leave the community due to no water in the community. Your own community members and non-members had to take a very dangerous situation into their own hands last night. They put themselves in a lot danger to protect any more members from being hurt. Wouldn’t you wanna come home to check up on your family and community members? Are you that selfish? Did you even make an attempt to come home? You care so much about staying out there for your bullshit meetings that you just let the rest us sit here, barely scraping by… Fuck you. Please say a prayer for North Spirit and it’s members. We desperately need help.”
“I’d just like to acknowledge Rita Thompson, ONE of our council members for being here. She has been running herself ragged during all this commotion. I’m sorry I didn’t say it sooner Rita, I am glad you are safe along with everyone else that stepped up to help you all night.”
Brandon Rae stated”
“We are having a community meeting and our people are not showing up to this meeting. This comes to show the real problem of drug addiction. Rides have been provided and yet nobody is coming.”
Brandon Rae continued:
on Tuesday….” our policing leaves due to not having water. Naps is not to blame for this. It’s sad. But ones who are to blame are the council for letting the water plant and distribution lines get so bad. If they kept on top of thing and quit worrying about their next travel for meetings maybe this would have been sorted out. Next to leave will probably be the nursing staff hired by Health Canada. They too will not be blamed for leaving. If any bad things happen the council should be held accountable. We cannot order a state of emergency for water because the government doesn’t allow access to emergency funds for that. I will blame my council if anything happens while the naps is away or if the nursing staff leaves. They need to quit fucking around and start being responsible and help our community. Fuck your next meeting. Stay here and deal with this. I say.
Statement from Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler as North Spirit Lake First Nation declares state of emergency.
“Chief and Council are overwhelmed and the situation is beyond their ability to continue to cope alone. 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. We are also arranging for a crisis team to reach the community as quickly as possible to provide mental health and other supports. We know the community is in crisis and we want the people of North Spirit Lake to know that help is on the way. We are trying to address their immediate needs and will work with Chief and Council to improve infrastructure and addiction treatment programs for the long-term health of the community.”