THUNDER BAY – Jordan Wabasse’s body was found two years ago. The young man had disappeared on a cold and snowy day and his body was pulled from the Kam River on May 10 2011. On Friday, the long awaited inquest into the deaths of seven Aboriginal youth who have gone missing was announced. First Nations communities have expressed concern over the loss of so many young people.
Over the past eight years, the seven youth represent a loss to their communities and their families.
Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy commented, “During that time period, no other young person in the city died under similar circumstances”.
“Why is that?” questioned Regional Chief Beardy. “It has created concerns in the Northern communities, not unlike the families of Canadian soldiers who have gone to Afghanistan to fight. The families are questioning if their young people headed to Thunder Bay are going to return home, or survive,” continued the Regional Chief.
“Every mother and father in the north, with a son or a daughter attending school in Thunder Bay worries constantly about the safety of their child”.
Dr. Michael Wilson, Regional Supervising Coroner for the North Region, Thunder Bay Office, today announced that a hearing date for standing at the joint inquest into the deaths of seven Aboriginal youth in Thunder Bay has been scheduled.
- Jethro Anderson of Kasabonika Lake First Nation died on or about Nov. 11, 2000, at age 15.
- Reggie Bushie of Poplar Hill First Nation died on or about Nov. 1, 2007, at age 15.
- Robyn Harper of Keewaywin First Nation died on Jan. 13, 2007, at age 19.
- Kyle Morrisseau of Keewaywin First Nation died on or about Nov. 10, 2009, at age 17.
- Paul Panacheese of Mishkeegogamang First Nation died on Nov. 11, 2006, at age 21.
- Curran Strang of Pikangikum First Nation died on or about Sept. 26, 2005, at age 18.
- Jordan Wabasse of Webequie First Nation died on or about May 10, 2011 at age 15.
The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths among students from remote northern communities.
The presiding coroner will hear applications for the granting of standing under Section 41 of the Coroners Act. No other motions will be heard. The jury will not be present. Details regarding further inquest proceedings will be announced at a later date, following the coroner’s ruling on standing.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. on June 11, 2013, in Auditorium A of the Ontario Government Building, Main floor, 189 Red River Rd., Thunder Bay. Dr. David Eden will preside as inquest coroner and Karen Shea and Trevor Jukes will be counsel to the coroner.
At Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School the year starts with a memorial service to remember the lost and missing youth.