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When Manitoba’s Tataskweyak Cree Nation declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, after nine young people were lost to suicide in the last 14 months alone, many took to social media to share their devastation. Some called it “heartbreaking.” Others said it was “disturbing.” But for many of those familiar with the ongoing mental health struggles among Indigenous communities, a different term was used to describe the tragic development: a “persistent problem.” “This doesn’t come overnight. This didn’t just happen because of the pandemic,” said Sheila North, former grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO).

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