OTTAWA, May 12 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn
A-in-chut Atleo today offered heartfelt condolences to the family of
Jordan Wabasse and the community of Webequie First Nation, and called
for better supports for all First Nation youth actively pursuing
education and opportunities outside their home communities.
"Today our hearts break for the family and friends of Jordan Wabasse, a
First Nation student who relocated from his home community to further
his education and hockey talents," said AFN National Chief Shawn
Atleo. "Unfortunately, Jordan's story is the story of too many of our
young people who do not have access to the necessary supports they need
when they're forced to leave their homes for urban areas. We must act
now to honour the memory of Jordan and the too many other children that
are missing and mourned."
National Chief Atleo's comments follow reports confirming the death of
Jordan Wabasse, 15, of Webequie First Nation. Jordan had been missing
from his boarding home in Thunder Bay, Ontario since February 7, 2011.
He is the seventh youth from Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory in Ontario
to perish under similar circumstances after relocating to Thunder Bay
for schooling since 2000.
"The safety and security of First Nations is essential, particularly our
youth who must leave their home communities to attend school, often
times over 500 kilometers and a plane ride away," said National Chief
Atleo. "We cannot lose any more youth this way. Education should be the
tool that empowers our people but, from the residential schools to the
current system which is inequitable and under-funded, our children are
too often placed in harm's way. Our young people deserve the same
support, protection and care as other children."
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, representing 49 First Nation communities in
Ontario including Webequie First Nation, has been working with Webequie
Chief Cornelius Wabasse, the Wabasse family and Thunder Bay police on
search and rescue efforts since Wabasse was reported missing.
"I commend the strength of the Wabasse family over the past few months,
Nishnawbe Aski leadership and the many volunteers for their search and
rescue efforts," said National Chief Atleo. "It's this commitment,
strength and resilience that must continue to ensure our young people
remain safe in their home communities or wherever their dreams take
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo
on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer (613) 241-6789, ext 382 or email@example.com