Chief Simeon Tshakapesh is reported recently, yet again, to be calling upon the provincial government to provide counselling services for the gas- sniffing-youth of his community. He was seemingly disheartened to acknowledge the discovery of gas-sniffing youths being left alone in a home, most particularly in this instance, as there were guns and munitions openly present.
He admits that the instance of kids openly sniffing gas in the community is still a concern, and he is calling again for counsellors to come into his community and work with identified children and affected families. Is anybody keeping count of these calls for help, for counsellors? In this responsible world of care and protection of our children, how is the need of such repeated calls allowed to continue to take place? Does anybody truly care?
The chief's tone in the media sound-bites is one of seeming tired surprise when there is yet another report of children sniffing gas and his people requesting help for their children. Natuashish, for all intents and purposes, is but a postage-stamp-sized community, yet it seems parents have to repeatedly inform their chief that sniffing gas by the children is continuing. Could that be part of the problem, or the problem for this tiny community - a disengaged chief?
Does the chief really live in Natuashish? He seems oblivious to what's essentially happening around him. He's not living in San Francisco. When he steps from his home each day, he is face and eyes into the realities of his tiny community.
Why should anybody have to call him to inform him about the children's behaviour?
Does he care, really? He should be face and eyes into the problem, the key-link in the community, staying ahead of the problem, not being informed and then seemingly shocked and again and again asking for counsellors.
It is my opinion, and it has been demonstrated over and over again, that Chief Tshakapesh's leadership role in his community, most particularly relating to the current losing-issue of the gas-sniffing children there, has eroded to the degree of being irresponsible, indeed dangerously bordering on personal liability.
I would suggest that it is time for the chief to retire - the sooner the better, for all concerned, most especially for the sake of the children of Natuashish, and indeed the general psychological health of the community.
clinical therapist, retired (substance abuse specialty)