Fort William First Nation Continues to Seek Mayor’s Removal from Police Board

Fort William First Nation
Fort William First Nation

FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – Comments by Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro at a recent Townhill Meeting have raised concerns on Fort William First Nation. FWfN CEO Ken Ogima is adding to the call from Chief Peter Collins for the Mayor to be removed from the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.

Ken Ogima has released a letter he wrote to Board Administrator Thomas Lockwood.

Fort William FN Calls for Mayor’s Removal

Thomas Lockwood
Thunder Bay Police Board Administrator

Dear Mr. Lockwood,

Hopefully this email finds you in good spirits and health; I would like to start off by stating that I am extremely pleased with the Thunder Bay Police Board’s commitment to acknowledging and addressing systemic racism and discrimination within the police force. I am however concerned with Thunder Bay Police Board Rep Mayor Mauro and his role within the board, I have had concerns with his appointing himself from the onset as it is my belief that one cannot be mayor and represent such a committee in an unbiased role, this thought became true most recently when Mr. Mauro hosted a town hall meeting.

I would like to formally document my opinion and recommendation to you as the Police Board Administrator.

At the Mayors town hall meeting, Mayor Bill Mauro chose to share his personal beliefs with respect to Gerry McNeilly and Senator Sinclair separate police reviews of systemic racism and discrimination. These beliefs were heard through his use of words which denounced and casted a shadow of doubt by Thunder Bay’s leader on the two reports by suggesting that “Those guys’ and the reports have painted an unfair picture and reputation of thunder bay, most of us rational people understand that this is way more than just about a reputation rather this is about breaking generational cycles and building a healthy community and future for our future generations.

The reports call for much needed changes and recommendations which many of us knew needed to happen including that of Corporate City Thunder Bay whom along with FWFN are Co-Founders and Chairs of Thunder Bay Anti-Racism and Inclusion Coalition which to date has many of Thunder Bay’s largest employers as signatory’s, employers such as St Joseph’s Care Group; Confederation College; Lakehead University; Thunder Police Force; Thunder Bay Regional Health ; Lakehead Public School Board; Lakehead Catholic School Board; Mattawa First Nation along with numerous others yet to be announced.

As the Leader of Thunder Bay he holds a significant role in moving this city forward including that of acknowledging when something needs to be fixed and until Mayor Mauro can get on the same page as his administration the issues of Racism and Discrimination will never have the support needed to be acknowledged and addressed.

Mauro’s public statements about Thunder Bay’s bad reputation will be and are seen by many as a great insults to the hard work the current board is undertaking and dismissive of Gerry McNeilly and Senator Sinclair reports and a grotesque slight to the generations of people the reviews speak to including the families impacted by the tragic losses which triggered the need for the reviews.

Currently Fort William First Nation through our elected chief and council and administration have entered into the following long standing relation building and community partnerships each designed to bridge our two communities together:

  • 2011 Partnershipagreement
  • Indigenous people’s daygathering
  • Community Economic Development InitiativeCEDI
  • Anti-Racism and InclusionCoalition

These are 4 of the more public and grand stage initiatives our two communities collaborate together on, however there are numerous other committees Chief Collins; I; Council and/or Staff partake in only to keep building stronger relations. At this point Fort William First Nation can no longer sit idle and silent to the Mayors consistent ignorance to the history of systemic racism and discrimination.

As CEO of FWFN and Co Chair and Founder of the Anti-Racism and Inclusion coalition, I am asking that you and Ministry of Solicitor General step in and remove Mayor Mauro from his role on the Police Board. If allowed to remain, it is my fear that the relations between my community and Thunder Bay will be severely impacted.

Respectfully,

Ken Ogima

Chief Executive Officer Fort William First Nation 90 Anemki Drive, Suite200
Fort William First Nation, ON P7J 1L3