Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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November 1, 2017

CEREMONY FOR LOST YOUTH HELD ON 10th ANNIVERSARY OF REGGIE BUSHIE’S DEATH

THUNDER BAY, ON (November 1, 2017): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Seven Fallen Feathers author Tanya Talaga joined with family members, youth and community leaders on the 10th anniversary of the death of Reggie Bushie to honour the deaths of seven NAN youth in Thunder Bay since 2000.

“I remember the grief we shared when the body of Reggie Bushie was recovered from the McIntyre River 10 years ago today - the fifth of our youth to die under similar circumstances since 2000. His parents called for answers, which eventually became the seven youth inquest after the loss of two more of our youth. Today we remember Jethro Anderson, Curran Strang, Paul Panacheese, Robyn Harper, Reggie Bushie, Kyle Morrisseau, Jordan Wabasse and all of our youth who have lost their lives,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “These tragic losses have taken an immeasurable toll on these families, educators and our communities. We appreciate Tanya’s efforts to host this gathering, and we thank everyone who participated. Nothing can make up for the loss of these youth, but we will honour their memory by doing everything we can to make Thunder Bay a safer and more welcoming community.”

Hosted by Tanya Talaga, author of Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, A Day to Remember marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Bushie, a 15-year-old high school student from Poplar Hill First Nation. A ceremony was held along the McIntyre River where his body was recovered on November 1, 2007.

Seven Fallen Feathers is the story of seven NAN youth who died in Thunder Bay between 2000 and 2011: Jethro Anderson (2000), Curran Strang (2005), Paul Panacheese (2006), Robyn Harper (2007), Reggie Bushie (2007), Kyle Morrisseau (2009) and Jordan Wabasse (2011). It is shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for nonfiction.

All seven youth died while attending high school in Thunder Bay, far away from their families and communities. Their deaths were the subject of an eight-month inquest held October 2015 to May 2016.  Since then, two more youth have been lost.

The body of Tammy Keeash, a 17-year-old from North Caribou Lake First Nation (Weagamow), was discovered in the Neebing McIntyre floodway on May 7, 2017. She was in care in a group home in Thunder Bay.

Josiah Begg, a 14-year-old from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, was last seen on May 6, 2017 while in Thunder Bay with his father for a medical appointment. His body was discovered in the McIntyre River on May 18, 2017.

More information:

Seven Youth Inquest

http://www.nan.on.ca/article/seven-youth-inquest-progress-reports-on-inquest-recommendations-22459.asp

Seven Fallen Feathers

https://houseofanansi.com/products/seven-fallen-feathers

For more information please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – (807) 625-4965 or cell (807) 621-2790 or by email nan%23on%23ca|mheintzman

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