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City Government

Mayor's Remarks - Community Prayer Walk

Good afternoon.

On behalf of City Council, Administration and the citizens of Thunder Bay, thank you for being here today as we come together for this symbolic Community Prayer Walk. I would first like to offer my sincere condolences to Chief Kanate, family of Tammy Keeash and residents of North Caribou Lake First Nation.

Our city is also grieving. We are heartbroken about the deaths of two teenagers in our city, and are mourning with you on the tragic deaths of 17-year-old Tammy and 14-year-old Josiah. 

I stand here proudly as the Mayor for all people of this City, which resides in the Robinson Superior Treaty and has been built on the traditional lands of the Ojibwa people of Fort William First Nation.

And the employees of the City of Thunder Bay including our emergency services – Police, Fire and EMS – are the employees for all of Thunder Bay. We are parents, daughters, sons, grandparents and we all grieve when harm comes to any child in our city. 

Beside me is Chief Peter Collins of Fort William First Nation. Together, our communities have been making great strides to collaborate on many initiatives and grow side-by-side.

Also beside me is Chief Dinah Kanate of North Caribou Lake First Nation.

I thank her for her vision for this walk to celebrate Tammy’s life and to begin the healing process by bringing all of our communities together. The theme today is Love, Compassion, Empathy, Accountability and Empowerment.

We stand together for all people – for young and old, for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, for the rich diversity of our city.

We have strived to be thoughtful, formal and collaborative in our approach to working with our Indigenous community partners and are putting actions to our words.

We must come together to find solutions to keep youth, and everyone in Thunder Bay, safe. We must come together to take action. We will do whatever we can, whatever it takes, to heal this community.

Our Elders Council, through the development of the Aboriginal Liaison Strategy, gave us the theme Maamawe – All Together. To move forward, we must heed its message. 

Let us look to each other for strength. Those here today are proof of a strong desire to do better. Together, we can achieve that goal, and not only get the answers we seek, but ensure these tragedies stop occurring, for once and for all.

Let us pledge to be the change we want to see in Thunder Bay – let us do what we can, individually and as a group, to make our community stronger and safer for everyone.

It is time for these tragedies to end. We all have a role to play in making that a reality.

On behalf of my colleagues on City Council and the citizens of Thunder Bay, thank you.

I will be joining my friends, as leaders of our communities, at the back of the line. Chief Kanate told us a story yesterday about the Wolf Pack.

The first in the line, sometimes elders and youth, give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come the strong ones, the front line. In the center, are the rest of the pack members, then the leaders follow. In that position, they can see everything, decide the direction, see all of the pack and make sure no one falls behind. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other.