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

Life and death: Mistake sent one family to funeral home, the other to hospital

Doctors told Jody Littlewolf that her daughter was brain dead and should… Continue reading

‘Still beautiful:’ Waterton Lakes National Park prepares for life after fire

WATERTON, Alta. — Parks Canada officials and businesses in Waterton say there… Continue reading

British royal family thanks those who celebrated wedding

LONDON — The royal family, blessed with fantastic weather and a buoyant… Continue reading

Cougar kills 1 mountain biker, injures 2nd near Seattle

NORTH BEND, Wash. — Two friends on a morning mountain bike ride… Continue reading

Red Deer’s indoor trampoline park announces closure

Citing mounting costs, Red Deer’s indoor trampoline park recently announced it was… Continue reading

Red Deer Silhouettes prepare for year-end show

Synchronized swimming team will perform its last show this season May 30

‘Like a warzone:’ People evacuated as fires burn through Manitoba city’s downtown

BRANDON, Man. — Leanne Marlow saw the flames engulf the building across… Continue reading

Canadians celebrate mix of pageantry, modern twists in royal wedding

As the freshly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex embark on married… Continue reading

Maduro favoured as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to win a… Continue reading

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humour

SANTA FE, Texas — Hardworking. Funny. Loving. Grieving family and friends recalled… Continue reading

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A veteran Sherpa guide who scaled Mount Everest for… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of the year

Hundreds came out to the first farmers market of 2018 Saturday

Canadian families among throngs of royal fans camping out for glimpse of newlyweds

WINDSOR, United Kingdom — Intense security measures, massive crowds, jet lag and… Continue reading

Swiss stun Canada, Sweden crushes US in ice hockey semis

COPENHAGEN — Switzerland stunned title favourite Canada 3-2 to reach only its… 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