THUNDER BAY – Maybe it is just the distance? Maybe it is because every news day is just another really busy day, but a new friend of mine, Cathy Elliott from Toronto is left wondering why none of the major media in Toronto have covered the story. The story is a missing Aboriginal teenager, Jordan Wabasse from Webiquie First Nation in Northwestern Ontario.
Jordan went missing 14 days ago, but so far, there is not so much as a mention of the story in the national media. It is almost as if there is a wall around Thunder Bay that doesn’t allow the story to get out. Either that, or … well who knows what reason there could be for the complete lack of coverage.
When a child goes missing in Toronto, the national media coverage is usually there sharing the information with everyone in Canada. The local coverage has grown. CBC Radio in Thunder Bay, the Chronicle Journal, TBTV, and TBNewswatch, and Lake Superior News in Thunder Bay have covered the story. There are posters all over Thunder Bay. People are volunteering to help.
No one is giving up hope. People are out in the streets searching for Jordan. There are people standing in the cold outside the search headquarters near the James Street Swing Bridge making sure people can find their way to the search headquarters. They are collecting donations for the search.
Today with the assistance of the O.P.P.’s Aviation Services, an aerial search of the Kaministiquia River and vicinity has been conducted with negative results. The search focused both up and downstream from the James Street Bridge.
The investigation continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Thunder Bay Police Service @ 807 684-1200.
NetNewsledger.com has been covering the story too. People from across Canada have been reading the story, and sharing the story with their friends and family. Yet outside Thunder Bay, as Day 14 since Jordan went missing, the story has not generated a mention. Not a single word. Nothing.
Maybe it is because stories of First Nations issues and missing Aboriginal people are just not considered interesting enough to garner the attention of reporters in the major centres of Canada? Maybe it is that the idea of covering another story of another missing youth just isn’t important enough.
Today is “Family Day” in Ontario. There is one family, the family of First Nations people across Northwestern Ontario who are not having an entirely happy Family Day, they are searching, hoping and praying that they will find Jordan.
Cathy Elliot, my friend from Toronto wrote, on Day Nine, “I’m frustrated that there isn’t a wider interest in this boy’s life.
“The people from Webequie are very generous people. They are patient people. They are too polite to wonder why no one’s interested in yet another native teen who’s come south, and couldn’t handle the hussle and bussle of a big southern city.
“I’m no longer going to be patient, or polite. I’m getting past frustrated for the family, and community members who are desperately hoping that Jordan is alive somewhere”.
Elliott was in Sioux Lookout doing a workshop as a part of the Literacy Festival. She is a teacher with DAREarts who have done a number of workshops across the North at a number of First Nations.
Tonight in Thunder Bay, from 6PM until 10PM at the Dennis Franklin Comarty School on South Edward Street, there will be a For the Love of it! A Pow Wow and a Blanket Dance in support of Jordan Wabasse and his family. You can stop by and enjoy the drumming, and the fellowship. FOR THE LOVE OF IT – It is free, the goal is to come together and keep our hopes up! 5 drums should be coming FOR THE LOVE OF IT so come down and bring a donation to help the cause.
So, even if the news media in Southern Ontario don’t cover this, if you are reading this article, anywhere in Canada, take a moment, and pass on the story, the pictures, and the news. Make a donation to help.
You can, by your actions demonstrate that across Canada, and across Thunder Bay, our hearts are strongest when we are all working together.
Like many times in our society, making a difference means just putting a shoulder to the task and doing it. Across the miles, from all the First Nations in the region, and people across Thunder Bay are stepping up to do it too.
All that is being asked is for everyone everywhere to do a little bit.
PS: If you can, please consider making a donation to help:
Make a monetary donation @ Royal Bank of Canada
Cashlink Card (Northern Store): 03911354
Cheques and Money Orders payable to:
Webequie First Nation
Re: Search Jordan Wabasse
*receipts can be requested, tax deductable
Cash can be donated in person: At the Fort William Band Hall/ Community Centre located on James Street South, just over the James Street Bridge on the FWFN side.