Grand Council Treaty #3 leadership Working to Improve and Modify Drug Strategy to meet the Needs of First Nation Communities

Kenora, ON — Grand Council Treaty #3 had the opportunity to highlight the work that has been done since the launch of the Treaty #3 Drug Strategy in 2017 at recent meeting with leadership from across the Treaty #3 Nation.

Since the launch of the Treaty #3 Drug Strategy several Treaty #3 communities have declared states of crisis because of the escalating drug abuse and health and social issues. The Drug Strategy meeting presented a forum for the Treaty #3 leadership to review the Drug Strategy and modify the Strategy to improve its responsiveness to health and social outcomes associated with drug addiction, as well as to hear successful First Nation strategies.

“It’s critical that we address addiction head on and use these solutions to fight this epidemic ravaging our communities. We need further access to funding and support to develop, implement, and evaluate our own solutions to address the mental health needs of our own communities,” said Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh. “The legacy of colonization and oppression, loss of culture and language and the resulting inter-generational trauma experienced by many First Nations people has significantly impacted health and wellbeing but we are fighting back and we are doing so with all the resources we have.”

Treaty #3 leadership heard from Carol Hopkins, executive director of Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, who spoke on solutions for addressing drug addiction and mental health challenges through a First Nation perspective. “Colonization of First Nations people continues to creep through the veins of First Nations, silently diminishing our future by stealing away our breath and heart beat through opioid and crystal meth use. First Nations are in a time of change and the most powerful driver of change is belief and compassion. A belief in who we are as a people, our language, land, and relationships. We can find our way through our sacred languages that hold our knowledge systems, evidence, and solutions to strengthen who we are; powerful enough to restore our breath and heartbeat to eradicate overdose. Grand Council Treaty 3 is strong in their language and culture is their foundation,” said Carol Hopkins.

Leadership also received a presentation from Lenny Fineday, director of legal counsel for Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, who spoke on the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Cass County collaboration to create a wellness court aimed at reducing the number of repeat substance dependent and DWI offences in the court system.

Grand Council Treaty #3 is looking forward to supporting communities to address drug addiction through the Treaty #3 Drug Strategy and Taskforce.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Office of the Ogichidaa, Kristine Reynard at (807) 548-4214 or