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Sask. First Nations leaders call for ‘medicine gathering’ to discuss youth suicide

A candle vigil was held Tuesday night to remember six northern Saskatchewan girls who have committed suicide in recent weeks.
First Nations leaders say they are taking matters into their own hands with a “medicine gathering” in Prince Albert to discuss why northern youth are committing suicide. Devin Sauer / Global News

Saskatchewan First Nations leaders say something has to be done before any more youth commit suicide.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the Prince Albert Grand Council announced on Tuesday that they are taking matters into their own hands.

READ MORE: Saskatoon woman sending letters of hope to northern Sask. during suicide crisis

A two-day “medicine gathering” will be held in Prince Albert in early December to discuss the challenges faced by indigenous youth, why so many are killing themselves and what can be done to prevent it.

Since mid-October- six girls living in northern Saskatchewan have taken their own lives. They were all between the ages of 10 and 14.

Prince Albert Grand Council Chief Ron Michel said other youth may help bring an end to the crisis.

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“These kids could help us talk to the kids, there’s kids out there that are crying for help and all of us around here were kids at one time and you would sooner talk to your friend sometime,” Michel said.

The announcement comes as political and indigenous leaders head north to try and understand why so many young girls are committing suicide.

READ MORE: Suicides of northern Saskatchewan indigenous girls on minds of leaders

Premier Brad Wall and FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron are scheduled to be in La Ronge on Wednesday.

Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the suicides in northern Saskatchewan a tragedy and said the federal government is committed to working with indigenous communities to deal with the problem.

Health Canada has said more mental-health workers and other health-care professionals have been sent to communities that have requested them.

Meaghan Craig contributed to this story; with files from The Canadian Press