First Nations Leaders and City of Thunder Bay Sign Agreement to Address Systemic Racism

On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (“NAN”) Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler, along with the Fort William First Nation Chief, Peter Collins, and Thunder Bay Councillors, Joe Virdiramo and Iain Angus, signed a Statement of Commitment to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples, fight systemic racism, and make Thunder Bay a safe and welcoming place for First Nations students and families. Falconers LLP serves as counsel to NAN and Grand Chief Fiddler.

The Statement of Commitment to First Nation Youth and Families is a response to a call from NAN’s Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler for the city and Fort William First Nation to declare States of Emergencies over the issue of First Nations student safety in the city. The statement also acknowledges that “unjust practices of past and present governments have resulted in social and economic disadvantages for Canada’s Indigenous peoples,” adding that “these inequities have often resulted in challenging and unsafe circumstances for First Nations youth, especially those who must leave their home communities to complete their education.” Grand Chief Fiddler also commented, that the statement represents a commitment to “peaceful co-existence and reconciliation.”

In June 2017, a Statistics Canada report showed that 29 per cent of all anti-Indigenous hate crimes across Canada in 2015 were committed in Thunder Bay, this statistic merely scratches the surface, but confirms that “systemic racism exists in Thunder Bay and must be dismantled.”

In the News

Agreement signed to address escalation of violence, racial tensions in Thunder Bay    APTN News, August 1, 2017

Thunder Bay and First Nations sign pledge to address racism and student safety    CBC, August 1, 2017

Thunder Bay, First Nations leaders sign pledge to fight racism    Global News, August 1, 2017

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