Statement from Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Oshkaatisak Council on Barbara Kentner Sentencing

Billboard in downtown Fort William was put up by a Treaty Three member to seek justice for Barbara Kentner
Billboard in downtown Fort William was put up by a Treaty Three member to seek justice for Barbara Kentner

Thunder Bay – Indigenous News – Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Oshkaatisak (All Young Peoples) Council has issued the following statement regarding today’s sentencing for Brayden Bushby’s manslaughter conviction in the tragic death of Barbara Kentner:

The Oshkaatisak Council extends well-wishes and prayers to the family and friends of Barbara Kentner and humbly extends our condolences. We feel confident and have high hopes that the sentencing of Brayden Bushby will provide justice for the family and community.

Nishnawbe youth have the right to feel safe on their homelands and in their city of residence. We are concerned for the well-being and safety of all youth, their friends, and families. NAN holds many events in Thunder Bay and people who attend should be able to feel safe and secure when they come to town. Visiting Thunder Bay should bring feelings of happiness and joy, not anxiety and fear.

Brayden Bushby’s actions leading to the death of Barbara Kentner have affected the entire community, and each of us in very personal ways. Many have perceived Bushby’s violent actions as motivated by hatred towards Indigenous peoples. Consequently, we are living in even greater fear of discrimination, gender and racial violence. When visiting Thunder Bay, some Youth Council members will not leave their hotel and are afraid to go out. Many are afraid to walk alone or use public transportation.

Violence against women and all Nishnawbe people in Thunder Bay needs to be addressed rightfully and immediately. We are told there was a time when our relatives could safely walk around this city at night without worry. Now, some only go out during the day and in groups for fear of their safety, constantly looking over their shoulders. The source of this fear and violence must be identified and dug out, root and stem.

We support Barbara Kentner’s family. The trauma and grief they have experienced has affected the entire Thunder Bay community. This needs to be addressed accordingly before we can consider Thunder Bay to be a safe and welcoming community.

Barbara Kentner, 34, died on July 4, 2017, five months after being struck by a trailer hitch thrown by Bushby from a moving car while she was walking with her sister on a residential street. Bushby was convicted on December 14, 2020, following a lengthy legal proceeding that saw the original charge of second-degree murder reduced to manslaughter.

The Oshkaatisak (All Young Peoples) Council represents the youth of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. The Oshkaatisak Council strives to promote youth empowerment and engagement with the goal of improving the livelihood and hope for the future of all NAN youth.

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