Ontario Regional Chief Hoping Thunder Bay Inquest Will Find Answers

The provincial inquest into the deaths of seven students gets underway in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay District Court house
The provincial inquest into the deaths of seven students gets underway in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay District Court House is where the Inquest into the deaths of First Nations Youth is happening.

THUNDER BAY – Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day says he hopes with the start of the second phase of the Youth Inquest taking place this week that more light will be shed on the deaths of seven First Nations youths who died tragically while attending school in Thunder Bay.

Chief Isadore Day
Chief Isadore Day

“We are hopeful that something positive will come out of the inquest for the youth attending school away from home, the communities they are leaving and most of all their families who they leave behind,” Ontario Regional Chief Day said. “We want answers to why our young people are dying. We hope by listening and taking part of this phase of the Inquest through our youth representative Quinn Meawasige representing the Ontario First Nation Youth Peoples Council (OFNYPC) we will be further ahead in not only understanding this issue but repairing it.”

The inquest is examining the circumstances surrounding the deaths, between 2000 and 2011, of young people from remote First Nations who came to Thunder Bay to attend high school. Most of their communities have little in the way of secondary education.

Six of the students attended Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School, a high school in Thunder Bay for First Nation students attending from northern First Nations. They were between 15 and 21 years old when they died. One youth died in 2000 and the other six youths died from 2005 to 2011.

“After watching the inquest for the past three months, it seems to me there was a lack of urgency when it came to investigating the deaths of these young people,” said Quinn Meawasige of the OFNYPC. “This type of thinking needs to change. The government has neglected on-reserve education for decades and so students leave the reserve unprepared and vulnerable – it is so unfair. First Nations youth deserve the same opportunities as other Canadian children – a good education and supportive environment.”

Watch live streaming video from the First Nation student deaths inquest here.

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