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B.C. first nation declares state of emergency in light of recent suicides

A Vancouver Island First Nation has declared a state of emergency over a recent spate of suicides and suicide attempts.

The Cowichan Tribes say they will release more information about the deaths at a press conference in Duncan, B.C., Monday morning.

Barbara McClintock of the B.C. Coroners Service says her agency can confirm four suicides among First Nations males in the Duncan and Nanaimo areas between Feb. 26 and April 26.

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Ms. McClintock says three of the men were in their 20s and 30s but one was 72 years old.

Ian Knipe of the Vancouver Island Health Authority says his organization met with the Cowichan Tribes, other bands and the RCMP to discuss the issue on April 25.

He says suicide rates tend to be higher among First Nations and relate to issues like residential schools and aboriginals being taken into government custody as children.

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