The Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) has declared a state of emergency.

In a media release sent out Tuesday the First Nation said the declaration was prompted by the killing a 17-year-old youth in Deschambault Lake. A 27-year-old man has been charged with murder in relation to the death. The First Nation said the killing underscores an escalating cycle of violence which is impacting both Pelican Narrows and Deschambault Lake.

PBCN Chief Karen Bird said the death of the youth and other incidents are having a bad impact on membership in the two communities.

“The constant sound of gunfire has left our members in a state of concern and distress due to the relentless violence,” she said.

Along with the negative impact on members, PBCN said healthcare services are under strain due to many workers feeling concerned about their personal safety.

PBCN said leadership is set to meet with officials from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to help deal with the current issues. Security has also been increased to help combat the issue. The First Nation added the current situation shows the need for more resources for emergency plans and stronger community safety initiatives.

“We remain steadfast in our dedication to support the affected families, keep our community members informed and collaborate with external stakeholders to restore peace and order in communities,” said Bird.