Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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June 9, 2017


THUNDER BAY, ON (June 9, 2017): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, congratulates Toronto Star journalist Tanya Talaga, who was awarded the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy to study suicide amongst Indigenous Peoples at a Canadian Journalism Foundation awards gala in Toronto last night:

“Tanya is a credit to her profession, and I was pleased to support her nomination for this prestigious fellowship. As a veteran journalist she has the courage to question the roles and responsibilities of the governments and institutions that directly impact the health and well-being of our people. With the freedom afforded by this year-long fellowship, I am confident she can reframe these issues by highlighting deficiencies in suicide prevention and the delivery of health services, the cultural of resistance to policy change in the public sector, and the broader issue of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples. Suicide, especially by our youth, is a crisis across NAN territory and Indigenous communities across the country. Tanya’s research promises to shine much-needed light on a tragedy that is rarely reported in depth, and rarely acted upon with meaning. We thank the Atkinson Foundation for supporting her research, and we look forward to assisting in any way possible.”

Talaga’s Atkinson will examine the at-risk regions that require immediate assistance such as Baffin Island, northern Manitoba and northern Ontario.

On January 20, 2016, NAN issued a call to action to the governments of Ontario and Canada to address the suicide epidemic in our communities. This followed the launch of The People’s Inquiry on Suicide by the Mushkegowuk Council, a comprehensive report documenting the ongoing suicide pandemic in First Nations along the James Bay coast. NAN declared a Health and Public Health Emergency on February 24, 2016 to address urgent and long-standing health issues caused by the inequality of health and health care services.

For more information please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – (807) 625-4965 or cell (807) 621-2790 or by email

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