NAN Deputy Grand Chief preparing families for inquest

Jordan Wabasse NAN

Jordan Wabasse NANTHUNDER BAY – News – “Today we remember the tragic loss of Jordan and each one of these youth as we prepare for this long-awaited inquest, and our thoughts and prayers are with their family, friends and communities,” stated NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. The Deputy Grand Chief holds the Justice portfolio at NAN.

NAN marks Jordan Wabasse anniversary

“We are now working closely with the families to prepare them for the inquest and to ensure that the necessary legal, cultural and other support services are in place before they begin what is sure to be a very emotional and painful ordeal.”

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is marking the second anniversary of the disappearance of one of seven NAN youth who died under similar circumstance while attending school in Thunder Bay since 2000, by assisting the families of the youth prepare for a joint inquest into their deaths.

Jordan Wabasse, a 15-year-old from Webequie First Nation, was reported missing on February 8, 2011. After months of searching by police, family and community volunteers his body was recovered from the Kaministiquia River.

Invalid Jury Rolls in Thunder Bay stall inquest

An inquest into one of the seven youth, Reggie Bushie, was halted in 2011 after the Chief Coroner of Ontario found that the jury roll for the Judicial District of Thunder Bay were invalid.

Due to the similarities in all seven deaths, NAN called for a broader inquiry to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding each of these deaths and to find ways to prevent such tragedies from happening again. The Chief Coroner announced a joint inquest into seven deaths on May 31, 2012.

More work needed

Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins states, that more follow up is needed in missing persons cases. First Nations leaders have organized several efforts toward building bridges with Thunder Bay. Fort William First Nation and Thunder Bay have signed memorandums of understanding and are seeking to work closer together.

Incidents with the Thunder Bay Police Service and First Nations residents have generated concern and NAN has hosted Community Safety Public Forums to help bring the two sides closer together. 

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs has called for increased respect from both Police and First Nations residents.