Two Northern Saskatchewan First Nations Launch Lawsuit Against Canadian Government Over Opioid Epidemic – Canadian News

October 10, 2023

Two Northern Saskatchewan First Nations, the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, have initiated legal action against the Canadian government, alleging a breach of its Treaty obligations for failing to address the opioid epidemic.

In a statement of claim filed recently, the First Nations communities have invoked the provisions of Treaty 6, which encompass support for dealing with “pestilence” and the well-known “medicine chest” clause, mandating support and medical care for First Nations.

The opioid crisis has had a profoundly detrimental impact on First Nation communities, resulting in significant losses, according to Chief Tammy Cook-Searson of Lac La Ronge. She highlighted the devastating consequences, including increased opioid-related crime, cultural erosion, adverse health outcomes, and social issues. The lawsuit asserts that Treaty 6 Nations have incurred substantial costs in mitigating the opioid epidemic’s effects on their reserves and communities, for which the Canadian government is allegedly responsible.

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