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News > World

2 More Indigenous Teenagers Found Dead in Ontario

  • First Nation woman in Canada

    First Nation woman in Canada | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 May 2017

First Nation tribe leaders have lost all confidence in local authorities.

Tammy Keeash of the North Caribou Lake First Nation and Josiah Begg of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, both teenagers, were found dead in the McIntyre River in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada in May.

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Their bodies were discovered near where another First Nation man, Stacy DeBungee, was found dead in the McIntyre River on Oct. 19, 2015. Another five Indigenous youth were also found in the McIntyre River prior.

The Star reported that in all cases, Indigenous leaders thought the deaths were never properly investigated as police quickly assumed all victims had drowned.

Now, leaders of all 77 northern Indigenous tribes of Ontario have called for help from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate and help solve the deaths of Keeash and Begg and other cold cases of First Nation people in Thunder Bay and throughout Canada.

Chiefs from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Grand Council Treaty #3 and Rainy River First Nations made their call for help officially during a news conference Wednesday.

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NAN Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said, “The recent losses of Tammy Keeash and Josiah Begg have once again confirmed the inability of the Thunder Bay Police Service to conduct competent and credible investigations into the epidemic of deaths of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Treaty No. 3 community members in Thunder Bay rivers.”

The Star reported that the Thunder Bay Police Services is currently under investigation for claims of “systemic racism” for its treatment of all Indigenous disappearances and death cases.

CBC News has compiled a list of over 300 Indigenous women and girls in Canada who have been murdered or are missing. Of that total, 34 cases, despite foul play being ruled out by authorities, demonstrate that murder may have been involved.

The Guardian reported that Canada's Minister for the Status of Women Patricia Hajdu, attested that the official number of Indigenous women and girls that have been murdered or are missing is much higher than the RCMP's figure of 1,200.

She suggested that the actual figure of 4,000 — as suggested by the Native Women's Association of Canada — is probably more accurate.

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