Indigenous woman who led Manitoba march begs Jane Philpott for help

GATINEAU, Que. — An Indigenous woman who led a lengthy march in northern Manitoba to draw awareness to the scourge of crystal meth in her community tearfully confronted Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott Wednesday, asking for help.

“It’s destroying lives and it’s killing our people,” said Maureen Wood.

During a question and answer period following an address by Philpott to the Assembly of First Nations, Wood approached the microphone, trembling with nerves and emotion.

As she struggled to find her voice, chiefs and elders in the room began to surround her, placing their hands on her shoulders to signal their support.

Wood told Philpott about the treacherous march she and others embarked upon last month on ice-covered roads and in biting winter winds, without the benefit of financial support.

They endured all this as a desperate attempt to draw attention to what they say is a crisis of abuse and addiction to crystal meth in her Island Lake First Nations community.

“We were walking for our children and our youth… we’ve walked over 2,000 kilometres already,” she said, adding the group has been sleeping on gym floors with nothing but water and granola bars to keep them going.

Looking to Philpott, Wood made an emotional plea for help. As she did, the hundreds of delegates at the assembly rose to their feet in a show of support.

“Standing here today, we ask for help to bring awareness of this drug that’s killing our people, for something to be done.”

The room erupted in thunderous applause.

Philpott brushed tears from her eyes as she expressed her commitment to trying to tackle the root causes of addiction among First Nations communities.

“I know there are people dying every single day as a result of drug use,” she said. “The real root cause is not the drugs, it’s the pain — the deep. deep psychological pain that is in your communities and in your families and individuals.”

She told Wood she would speak privately with her to find a way to support her Manitoba community.

“We have to find a way to work together to support you and all those for whom you are walking,” Philpott said. “We’ve got to find a way to stop this and to heal the pain.”

Just Posted

Get your guilty pleasures: Westerner Days food

Traditional sugary treats were served up by the plate, bowl and bucket… Continue reading

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Redoing hip surgeries are costly, says new study

Redoing hip and knee replacements costs Canada’s health system $130 million a… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer gets a taste of unique, fun chilis at cook off

From deer meat to Grand Marnier to raspberry jam everyone at the… Continue reading

Walk to raise overdose awareness

Leah’s Light registration deadline July 25

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Brazilian police arrest ‘Dr. Bumbum’ after patient dies

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police have arrested celebrated plastic surgeon Denis… Continue reading

Canadian marijuana company Tilray has first US pot IPO

SEATTLE — A Canadian company is the first marijuana business to complete… Continue reading

Dolphins anthem punishment includes suspensions

Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem… Continue reading

Soy “milk” makers may need to find alternative description

NEW YORK — Soy and almond drinks that bill themselves as “milk”… Continue reading

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death granted day parole

CALGARY — A woman whose son died after she failed to take… Continue reading

Greenpeace members arrested for climbing Olympic Stadium tower in Montreal

MONTREAL — Several Greenpeace members climbed the outside of the Olympic Stadium… Continue reading

B.C.’s Site C dam project behind schedule, plagued by problems: expert

British Columbia’s mammoth Site C hydro-electric project is seriously behind schedule, plagued… Continue reading

Charges laid against woman found in Innisfail hotel room with eight dogs

A woman faces 12 charges after eight dogs were seized from an… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month