Native Village Youth and Education News
March 1, 2009 Issue 195 Volume 2
Booze Ban Has Meant Less Crime,
Nunavut: In 2002, Natuashish residents relocated from Davis Inlet, a desperate community home to gas-sniffing children and dilapidated housing. A year ago, Natuashish's residents voted to become the first dry town in Newfoundland and Labrador. Residents say the controversial measure has proven successful: school truancy rates have dropped, police are laying fewer charges, and residents say the community seems healthier and more alert.
"A lot of people I know are sober now," said Anna Rich, 24. "People here are more interested in activities."
Katie Rich, a former chief in Davis Inlet, said the move is paying dividends. "There seems to be less crisis in the community," said Rich. "You don't hear planes [at] 2 and 3 in the morning. That's usually what happens when a tragedy occurs."
RCMP confirms that assault charges are down about 50%, and petty crime reports have dropped by 80%.
At the school, more children attend classes and are ready to learn. "We've been having more parents coming in for family day [and] the children are a little bit better dressed and taken care of," said principal Jackie Williams. "They're not coming in sleep-deprived, which is nice to see. They're not putting their heads on their desk and getting their nap in the morning because they were up all night worrying about mom and dad."
Test scores are up, and there's been a change in the school breakfast program.
"We started off with 140 kids. Now we're into anywhere between 40 and 100," said volunteer Elsie Greenham. "That shows that some kids are getting a good breakfast at home."
One goals for the Natuashish band council is to provide more educational and cultural programs for residents as they become accustomed to sobriety.
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