The City of Thunder Bay is committed to further investing in the advancement of our evolving relationship with Indigenous Peoples in Thunder Bay.

The vision Maamawe (All together), as articulated in the Indigenous Relations and Inclusion Strategy, aligns with the
City of Thunder Bay 2019-2022 Strategic Plan’s theme: One City, Growing Together. This blending of visions, and the forming of various relationship agreements is one way the City has been working diligently to fulfill its commitment to improving relations with Indigenous peoples and newcomers living in or visiting Thunder Bay.

Declaration of Commitment

Declaration of Commitment document

The Declaration of Commitment to urban Indigenous people was adopted by City Council on June 21, 2010, at Chippewa Park and was the first city in Ontario with an Indigenous strategy.

Thunder Bay recognizes the valuable social, cultural and economic contributions Indigenous people make to our community.

This Declaration's purpose is to help strengthen the relationship between the City of Thunder Bay and urban Indigenous people.

Fort William First Nation Declaration of Commitment

FWFN Declaration of Commitment documentOn Tuesday, October 4, 2011, a Declaration of Commitmentstrengthening the relationship between Fort William First Nation and the City of Thunder Bay was signed agreeing upon all principles and spirit of the document.

North Caribou Lake First Nation Friendship Agreement

North Caribou Lake Friendship Agreement documentOn Sept. 29, 2017, North Caribou Lake First Nation (NCLFN), Fort William First Nation (FWFN), the City of Thunder Bay (CTB) and the Thunder Bay Police Services (TBPS) signed a Friendship Agreement to promote and co-operate in the areas of community development, public safety, anti-racism, education, social and cultural awareness between all four partners and their citizens.

“By working together and sharing resources, we can remove barriers, seek common ground for a meaningful dialogue, be respectful of disagreements and issues and through listening and teaching each other about our differences we will find solutions,” said Chief Dinah Kanate, who had the original vision for the partnership.

On June 1, under the leadership of Chief Kanate, a community prayer and unity walk in honour of the late Tammy Keeash and late Josiah Begg was organized in Thunder Bay with the overwhelming help and support from the people who joined the walk, CTB, TPBS, FWFN, local organizations, businesses and volunteers. A grass roots approach called Mamow –WetunKeemTowin’s (Working Together) was also established to continue to work together at a grass root level to develop and implement solutions.

This Friendship Agreement was a result of the growing relations that originated from the walk. NCLFN, FWFN, CTB and TBPS are committed to working together through a grass roots approach to bring people together to build bridges, encourage community to contribute by taking affirmative action with shared responsibility, raise awareness to begin the healing process and implement solutions for reconciliation.

“The more integrated we are the less we will subscribe to the us vs. them attitudes,” added Chief Kanate. “Today, the most pressing priority, that is our collective responsibility, is to prepare First Nation children and youth for their future and create a safe and nurturing environment so they can realize their dreams and full potential.”

Chief Kanate also added that she is grateful for establishing this connection with these partners. Her vision is to tap into the power of working together as a whole instead of individual parts to serve the common purpose of strengthening relations and developing solutions to address common issues affecting all of us.

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

"This is still much work that needs to be done, however today’s ceremony and signing is another positive step in the right direction towards true reconciliation and partnership,” said Chief Peter Collins, Fort William First Nation. “As the Chief of Fort William First Nation on which the traditional territory the City of Thunder Bay is built on, I look forward to working alongside all the signatories and helping to assist to create real positive change and to improve the safety and well-being of all people that call Thunder Bay home."

In late August, First Nation students as young as thirteen years old moved away from home for their first time. They left their families and homes in remote locations in northwestern Ontario to attend high school in Thunder Bay. Staying home is rarely an option because most communities do not have grade nine available.

For their teenaged years, the students are placed in boarding homes and sponsored by their tribal councils who are often hundreds of kilometers away. Any teenager, in any town, even living with family, is at risk for exploitation, neglect, abuse, racism, and violence; add to that the risk factor of being far away from home, in a big busy city, on city buses, with busy streets, attending a new high school and one can see how cumulative risk starts to grow. Some of the tribal councils have worked collaboratively to ensure safety and well-being for their students and working diligently to meet student needs.


North Caribou Lake Friendship Agreement Signing with several people sitting at table

Pictured: The Sept. 29, 2017, signing of a Friendship Agreement on between North Caribou Lake First Nation, Fort William First Nation, the City of Thunder Bay, and the Thunder Bay Police Services. 

Commitment to First Nation Youth and Families

Commitment to First Nation Youth and Families documentOn Aug. 1, 2017, Chief Peter Collins of Fort William First Nation, Acting Mayor, Joe Virdiramo, and Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation signed a Statement of Commitment to First Nation Youth and Families with a shared concern for the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples living in the City of Thunder Bay.


Anti-Racism and Inclusion Accord 

Anti-Racism and Inclusion Accord document

On June 19, 2018, representatives from 11 major organizations signed a Thunder Bay Anti-Racism & Inclusion Accord, and announced a Coalition that will commit to establish goals and report on successes by working together to address racism and discrimination in the community.

"Each and every lead at the organizations agreed that a unified approach and public statement declaring the existence of systemic racism within Thunder Bay needs to happen," said Ken Ogima, Chief Executive Officer at Fort William First Nation.

"We agreed that when working together, unified by one idea, we can provide fruitful gains and solutions with anti-racism and discrimination."

The following CEOs/CAOs were in attendance to sign the Accord:

  • Norm Gale, City of Thunder Bay
  • Ken Ogima, Fort William First Nation
  • Sylvie Hauth, Thunder Bay Police Services
  • John Pateman, Thunder Bay Public Library
  • David Paul Achneepineskum, Matawa First Nations Management
  • Moira McPherson, Lakehead University
  • Ken Adams, Confederation College
  • Ian MacRae, Lakehead Public School Board
  • Pino Tassone, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
  • Jean Bartkowiak, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
  • Lisa Beckwick, St. Joseph's Care Group

Signing of the Anti-Racism and Inclusion Accord with several people at a table

Pictured: The June 19, 2018, signing of the Anti-Racism and Inclusion Accord by representatives from 11 major organizations.


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