In the wake of a double homicide in the central-Yukon community of Mayo and against the backdrop of the ongoing opioid crisis, the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (FNNND) has declared a state of emergency in an effort to address public safety and community wellness concerns.
Information on the declared state of emergency was posted to FNNND’s website on the evening on March 14. It details the emergency powers that FNNND’s council plans to exercise and the assistance it will be seeking from outside the community in response to the crisis.
The posting describes “an opioid emergency that is terrorizing the public in Mayo.” It is manifesting in increased violence, crime, overdoses and deaths.
The First Nation’s council unanimously passed a resolution on March 14 declaring the emergency and directing that discussions with senior representatives of the territorial government, the RCMP and the Village of Mayo begin as soon as possible to come up with a plan of action.
It states that the action plan may include measures such as: increased law enforcement presence within FNNND’s territory and a requirement that non-FNNND citizens vacate the First Nation’s settlement lands between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. and also register with FNNND before entering the settlement lands at any time. Check stops in an effort to stop the distribution of opioids, the eviction of FNNND tenants who are engaged in illegal activities and the creation of a team of First Nation, government and law enforcement representatives to put the plan in place are also proposed.
Additional supports and protection for people who use drugs and treatment for FNNND residents are also proposed.
The FNNND council’s resolution states that a draft plan of action is to be developed in consultation with its citizens and then presented to its general assembly for review.
Measures responding to the opioid crisis were requested before in a letter and petition to Mayo’s joint council, made up of the FNNND chief and council and the village of Mayo’s chief and council, in late 2021.
The Carcross/Tagish First Nation declared a state of emergency in response to drug overdose deaths in January 2022 and the Yukon followed suit with a territory-wide emergency days later.