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Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will ask the City of Thunder Bay and neighbouring Fort William First Nation to declare a state of emergency. Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says he will ask the City of Thunder Bay and neighbouring Fort William First Nation to declare a state of emergency to mobilize more funds for student safety.

Fiddler says Nishnawbe Aski Nation can’t make the declaration alone because they are visitors in this territory.

The decision comes after two days of talks with chiefs from First Nations across northern Ontario who gathered to consider the safety of Indigenous youth who attend school in Thunder Bay, Ont.

After hearing differing views from youth and elders, the chiefs resolved to form an emergency task force that will develop an action plan for keeping students safe this fall and report back at an annual summer meeting in August.

Seven First Nations students have died in the city since 2000. They were forced to leave home to pursue a high school education because their own remote communities don’t have high schools.

In May, two First Nations teens, who were in the Thunder Bay seeking health support services not available in their communities, were found dead in separate incidents.

A jury at the coroner’s inquest into the seven student deaths last year ruled three of the deaths accidental, while the cause of four others remains a mystery. The deaths in May are under investigation by York Regional Police, after chiefs complained about a lack of trust in Thunder Bay police.

The mystery of those deaths, combined with student reports of racism in the city, and the death this week of Barbara Kentner , a First Nations mother who was hit by a trailer hitch thrown from a passing car have many fearing the lives of other students […]

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