To the Editors,
Re your online article, “Suicide among Canada's First Nations: Key numbers”:
Having worked in First Nations/Inuit communities for nearly 10 years, I can attest to the devastating fatalism regarding suicide.
Indigenous communities do not shy away from the reality of death, and there are no sentimental, humorous anecdotes told at a sanitized memorial service.
The community comes to a standstill: school is closed; the gymnasium is often the site of the wake and funeral service. Generally, the entire community views the deceased in an open coffin, and grief - felt by all, from children to elders - is palpable and intense.
The advisory committee reporting on assisted suicide and euthanasia recommends that self-diagnosed "suffering" adults - anyone over 18 - and "mature minors" - be given the "right" to euthanasia. Somehow I doubt any committee members have attended the open-coffin funeral of an indigenous youth who has committed suicide.