THUNDER BAY – “There was a woman, who was taken by two non-native guys, raped and left for dead,” stated Chief Peter Collins, the Chief of Fort William First Nation. Collins says “It is a hate crime against our community”.
In a media statement issued today, Idle No More states, “On Thursday evening Angela Smith (not her real name to protect her identity) was walking to a store in the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Two Caucasian men pulled their car up along side her as she walked on the sidewalk and began issuing racial slurs while throwing items at her from the car. When she continued to walk, the car stopped and the passenger of the vehicle got out of the car and grabbed the woman by her hair and forced her into the back of the car where she was held her down in the back seat by one of them and driven out of the city.
“They drove her to a surrounding wooded area where they brutally sexually assaulted, strangled and beat her. During the attack they told her it wasn’t the first time they had committed this type of crime and added, ‘it wouldn’t be the last’. They also told her ‘You Indians deserve to lose your treaty rights’. Making a reference to the current peaceful protests being undertaken by First Nations in Thunder Bay and throughout the country under the banner of Idle No More”.
“You need to be vigilant, travel together and be safe”. That is the message an Aboriginal woman in Thunder Bay who states she was attacked by two men, who assaulted her, and drove her out of town and left her for dead. “Protect and love each other! Please do not react with violence to this attack.”
Her message was shared with the people attending the Idle No More rally on December 30 2012 at Fort William First Nation.
The woman was told by the attackers that “We don’t want Aboriginal people to have treaty rights”.
At the Idle No More event at Fort William First Nation today, Joyce Hunter shared the woman’s message with the audience.
Left for dead in the wooded area, ‘Angela’ managed to walk for four to five hours back to her home, where police were called. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital and the crime is currently under investigation.
Speaking from her home in Thunder Bay on Friday, ‘Angela’ said, “The only thought that came to my mind were my children. I thought I would never see them again.”
She said she also wanted to get the information out to community members in Thunder Bay, “It’s a cruel world out there and right now with the First Nations trying to fight this Bill (Bill C-45) everyone should be looking over their shoulder constantly because there are a lot of racists out there and to be careful.”
Her mother added, “We felt it was important for us to get the word out because we are very concerned about the safety of our women in the community. And as well we want to tell people that even though this happened to my daughter, we are not the violent ones. We want to tell people not to get angry or to be violent. Its very important that the Idle No More movement to remain peaceful.”
The goal of the event today was education. There were hundreds of people who gathered to support the message that a full and open meeting of nations must happen.
The event on the Fort William First Nation had traffic blocked up headed to the First Nation, but the road was not blocked. It was an information stop and literature on the Idle No More movement was offered to all vehicles. Most vehicles were honking their horns in support of the teach in.
Chief Peter Collins addresses the Idle No More Gathering
Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins shared updates with the masses assembled. To loud cheers, Collins stated, “January 16th will be a national day of action”. Collins stated, “If we have to we will be shutting down railroads, shutting down waterways and roadways”.
The Chief added, “We all have to be on the same page”.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Thunder Bay Police at 684-1200 or call Crime Stoppers at 623-8477. Crime Stoppers guarantees that your identity will remain anonymous and you could receive a cash reward for information that helps solve this crime.
Story was updated on December 31st 2012 – At the request of the mother of the victim the reference to her home community was removed – James