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Lack of Action to Address Economic Inequalities at the Root of Suicide Rates of Inuit and Innu

Updated: May 2, 2023


For Immediate Release

27 April, 2023


NDP MHA for Torngat Mountains Lela Evans says study after study identify social inequities and economic marginalization of Indigenous peoples as the direct contributor to higher suicides rates. In the District of Torngat Mountains, the alarming statistics all point to chronic gaps in areas such as food security, housing, access to adequate timely healthcare, and education. Despite this knowledge, the government chose not to prioritize action in their budget.


“People in my district carry the burden of intergenerational trauma and because consecutive governments failed to address the harms created by institutionalized colonialism we have suicide rates twenty times those on the island portion of our province. The disparity is highest for our Inuit women whose suicide rate is 31.5 times higher then women in Newfoundland. The chronic failure to help my people has resulted in many killing themselves because they can’t get past the harms. That is our sad reality,” said Evans.


“Our elders are unable to afford to heat their homes because the cost of heating fuels takes all their money, leaving them without food. I know children who go to bed hungry and stay in bed the next morning because they don’t want to feel the cold of the floor. I know the cost to buy nutritious food is too great so many of my people develop preventable health issues.


“Addressing the generations of inequities that Inuit and Innu face is totally ignored by this government – it is shameful. It was this government who took off the freight boat from the Island because they claimed the Trans Labrador was nearing completion. What highway? There is no highway to my communities, just hungry people!


“There has been no action from successive governments, just strategy after strategy launched with kind words, while the inequalities continue. We can’t eat kind words nor can we use them to heat our houses or ensure our children get access to quality education. Unfortunately, kind words became a substitute for action.


“The announcement of single psychosis nurse position to combat suicides is treating a symptom, and not the cause. In actual fact, a person is going to leave their appointment with their psychosis nurse and go back to living in a cold house, face the same stress of not being able to afford nutritious food for their children. What good is a psychosis nurse if circumstances continue to push person to suicide because they have no hope their situation will change?


“My people need hope. We need hope that the inequalities are going to stop. We need hope for the future of our communities. We need hope that we can pass on to our children.”

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For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or eddystcoeur@gov.nl.ca


NR 27042023 Lack of Action to Address Economic Inequalities at the Root of Suicide Rates
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