THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Suicide rates are high in the 49 First Nations communities that make up the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, an advocacy group that covers most of northern Ontario. Some numbers:
Total number of suicides in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation area 2005-2012: 163
So far in 2012: 18
Peak years: 21 in 2009 and 2010
Total number of suicides in the Matawa group of eight First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire, 2005-2012: 24
At highest risk: predominantly males between 15 and 20 years old.
Highest suicide rate in last eight years: Neskantaga, near the Ring of Fire; followed closely by Pikangikum, outside the Ring of Fire area near the Manitoba border.