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Hitacu rallies against drugs and alcohol

Citizens vow to make community safe again.
Carrie George leads citizens of Hitacu on a march against drugs and alcohol on April 25. More marches are planned for the community. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

A movement against drugs and alcohol is gaining momentum in the First Nations community of Hitacu.

Elder Geraldine Touchie organized a meeting on April 19 to talk about how they can take back their community after the recent overdose deaths. More than 60 citizens attended.

“Our community is in crisis. And it was great to see such a significant turnout for such an important meeting. It is time we take back our community and make it safe again,” Touchie was quoted saying in a press release.

On April 25, approximately 50 members of the community showed up for a protest march.

Carrie George led the march with a heavy heart. She recently lost her niece in what was likely a drug overdose.

“Even when she was down, she had a smile,” said George.

George told the Westerly she was concerned about the safety of the local children after having witnessed a nine-year-old being offered alcohol.

She held a sign that read: ‘Our kids’ lives matter’.

Elder Touchie said that it’s a grassroots problem, and that RCMP is not to blame.

“We cannot depend on our government. It is up to the citizens themselves to protect the children and ensure they grow up on the straight and narrow. This is not about a stronger RCMP presence in our community. That is not going to solve our problem,” said Touchie.

“This is about our community coming together to make the changes we need to make to get Hitacu back to the way it was not so long ago. We don’t believe in strong-arming the RCMP like our President has recently done. It is unproductive and shameful. We are very grateful for the RCMP and Const. Marcel Midlane for everything he has done for our community and for volunteering with our Young Warriors program.”

Grace Frank marched with the community on April 25. She said her son is addicted to heroin.

“If someone phones late at night, it scares me,” said Frank. She walked with a sign that read: ‘Too many people dying from drug overdoses. Stop drugs NOW. Say no to drugs’.

The citizens of Hitacu will continue to march against drugs and alcohol and there are also plans to hold a candlelight vigil.

Anyone is welcome to march with the community.

“All the more,” said Touchie.

Jordyn and Kaila Louie hold signs made by the Hitacu Children's Centre at a march against drugs and alcohol on April 25. (Nora O'Malley / Westerly News)


Ucluelet police site fentanyl as the likely cause of two fatal overdoses (Apr. 9, 2018)

Ucluelet First Nation president blasts RCMP for failing Hitacu (Apr. 5, 2018)

Granddaughter died of fentanyl overdose (Feb.13, 2018)