LSN_ USA_Canada_Flages          Lake Superior News   Lake Superor Regional News

                   Visit our Old website

Anishinabek Nation leader questions
safety of First Nation citizens in Thunder Bay

Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Ed Wawia  Lake Superior News

THUNDER BAY, Ontario  —  December 11, 2018  (LSN)  Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Ed Wawia in response to the recent video depicting a female Thunder Bay Police Service police officer slapping an impaired youth while being detained on a stretcher:

As the Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief representing the Northern Superior chiefs in the Robinson Superior Treaty territory, we have a significant number of our Anishinaabe citizens who call Thunder Bay their home, whether permanently or temporarily.

In reaction to the recent flood of events, I question the safety of our First Nation citizens. I am appalled to witness the lack of sensitivity by Thunder Bay citizens towards the incident involving an impaired youth being assaulted by a local on-duty police officer.

What is more troubling is the statement of newly elected Mayor of Thunder Bay, Bill Mauro, followed by a statement released by the Thunder Bay Police Association that are deflective, insensitive, and biased. The statement blatantly downplays the real issue at hand of a police officer assaulting an impaired and detained youth and instead, shifts the focus towards blame, effectively dismissing our northern treaty partner, Alvin Fiddler, who is well within his mandate to question and call for answers following the incident involving a young girl from one of the 49 communities he represents.

Such statements from officials in public positions of authority and influence are destructive and contrary to a solution-based agenda and approach. Their statements raise more questions than answers regarding the ethical and social values they possess that shape their worldview, which ultimately dictates the standard of care and representation on behalf of all people and citizens, regardless of race, sex, lifestyle or religion.

We all have an obligation to fulfill when it comes to protecting and supporting our citizens, especially our young people who are a vulnerable demographic. We do our citizens and ourselves a great injustice when we narrow our focus to race, blame, and politics. The Mayor and police association made multiple references supporting the police officer on duty; however, not one reference or concern towards the young girl. The blame must stop here. If reconciliation is what we want, then we need to take ownership of our individual roles, especially as public servants, and roll up our sleeves and get to work.

To that end, first and foremost as a father and elected Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief on behalf of the Northern Superior chiefs of the Anishinabek Nation within the Robinson Superior Treaty territory, we support our friend and treaty partner, Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, in condemning the actions taken by the police officer who assaulted a young girl from Nibinamik First Nation and we stand with him and everyone who is calling for immediate answers.

Submitted by Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Ed Wawia
Orginal Story:


THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO -  December 2, 2018  (LSN)   Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and First Nation leaders are calling for answers after a video surfaced this weekend that appears to show a member of the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) striking a First Nation youth while receiving medical care.


“We are outraged by the actions of the officer depicted in this video. We do not know all of the details that led to this incident, but there is simply no justification for such violent and callous treatment of a youth in such a defenseless position,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “Such actions by the police, whatever the cause, must be fully independent authority and the results made public by the Chief of Police.”

The brief video, posted to Facebook last night, appears to show an officer striking a youth restrained on stretcher next to an ambulance. The words “You’re going to the hospital” can be heard.


It is not clear why the youth, a 17-year-old from Nibinimik First Nation and student of the Matawa Learning Centre, required medical attention. Police officials have confirmed that an investigation has been launched but have not clarified if it will be independent of the TBPS.


The viral video has sparked outrage from First Nations across NAN territory, who have a long history of conflict with the city’s police force. 


First Nation leaders called for the resignation of former Thunder Bay Police Chief J.P. Levesque following a report from the Ontario Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) earlier this year that documented “substantial” deficiencies in the investigation into the death of Rainy River First Nations member Stacy DeBungee in 2015. Levesque also faced charges of breach of trust and obstruction of justice in an unrelated matter but the case was dismissed. He has since retired.


In November 2016, the OIPRD announced a systemic review of the Thunder Bay Police Service’s practices for policing Indigenous Peoples. Specifically, policies, practices and attitudes regarding missing person and death investigations.

The Thunder Bay Police Services Board is also under investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC), the statutory governing body for police boards in Ontario. Program or Department Name Here



Subscribe to Lake Superior mailing list to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox weekly 

*indicates required
Email Format

We will not share your information with other organizations