Drug and alcohol abuse isn't a big problem among youth at Whitefish Bay First Nations yet—and parents there want to make sure it never becomes one.
Isobel White, a mother of two, helped organize a meeting of parents, the band chief and council, and police Monday night to address the problem.
More than 30 people came out for the meeting, with several ideas brought forward on how to curb youth drug and alcohol abuse.
A date for a follow-up meeting also was set.
White said the first step was to swallow a bit of pride and admit the problem existed. Too often people are willing to ignore such things in their community until it's too late.
“I'm not sure if it's a big problem but it's a problem," she remarked. "It's mostly the youth we're concerned about. It's reaching to the more younger ages of maybe 13—maybe even 12.”
“There is a problem," admitted Chief Clarence White. "It can be a big problem if we don't try and tackle it.”
Clarence said concerns were raised by parents at a general band meeting earlier this month, and those haven't died down.
“Parents are requesting what can we do about it," Chief White said. "The best way to do it is get these people together and try to minimize it so it doesn't get worse.”
One way to combat drug use is to offer other activities for their children, Isobel White reasoned, adding baseball games, hockey tournaments and dances are just some of the ideas parents have come up with.
“If the parents worked together, it would be an ongoing thing," she said. ”The kids would be occupied all the time.
“I spoke to a few parents and they were all for it," she added. "They're saying there's going to be a lot of support.”
Although an exact plan of action hasn't been determined yet, White saw Monday night's meeting as a very positive step in getting the ball rolling in Whitefish Bay.
“The kids are the main thing for us," she said. "It's the youth we're concerned about.”
“There's a problem, people are seeing it," Chief White added. "I'm not only speaking as a chief. I'm speaking as a parent.”