Another First Nations girl dies while in care, this time in Thunder Bay

Willow Fiddler
APTN National News
A 17-year-old First Nations girl found dead in a Thunder Bay waterway Sunday was living in a group home making her the fourth First Nations girl to die in care since late October.

Thunder Bay police identified the female body pulled from the Neebing McIntyre Floodway, that drains into Lake Superior, as Tammy Keeash.

Keeash was living in a group home at the time of her death and failed the return Saturday said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

“A staff member from that group home called the police just before midnight on Saturday and they again contacted the police Sunday afternoon,” said Fiddler.

Fiddler said he is not aware of what efforts were made by police to find Keeash when they were notified she didn’t report to the group home for curfew.

“The next thing that happened was when we got the call that a body had been recovered near the McIntyre Floodway. Then we found out later on that it was Tammy,” he said.

Fiddler said Keeash was from North Caribou Lake First Nation about 500 km north of Thunder Bay.

Fiddler said they are working with North Caribou Lake to ensure the family and community has the appropriate supports in place.

Police are asking the public for details on her whereabouts leading to her death. Police said she was last seen in the early evening Saturday in the 300 block of North Edward Street. Her body was found Sunday at 9 p.m.

Keeash’s death comes as First Nations leaders have been calling for an inquest into the deaths of three other First Nations girls that died in group homes.

Courtney Scott, 16, of Fort Albany First Nation, died in an Ottawa group home April 21 after a fire broke out.

Four days earlier on April 17 Amy Owen, 13, of Poplar Hill First Nation is believed to have died by suicide in a different Ottawa group home.

In late October, Kanina Sue Turtle, 15, also of Poplar Hill, is believed to have died by suicide in Sioux Lookout.

Like Turtle and Owen, Keeash was under the care of Tikinagan Child and Family Services based in Sioux Lookout.

Anyone who may have seen Keeash is asked to call the police at 807-684-1200.

Police said any little bit of information could assist in piecing together what led up to her death.

Investigators are awaiting the results of the postmortem scheduled for Wednesday in Thunder Bay.

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Video Journalist / Thunder Bay

Willow is an Oji-Cree Anishinabe from Sandy Lake First Nation. Her background is in print journalism and she studied multimedia before entering broadcast news . She is passionate about the stories of the Anishinabe in northwestern Ontario, particularly in the remote north.

4 thoughts on “Another First Nations girl dies while in care, this time in Thunder Bay

  1. I think the chiefs should set up group homes in the reserves and aboriginal communities to ensure proper care and ensure ongoing family ties and friendships. These young people need to feel loved and important as where they wouldn’t get that from anywhere else. They shouldn’t have to be totally disconnected from their cultural backgrounds. Why send them off where they feel alone and misplaced. They are only set up for danger and that is a huge risk while they’re still too young.

    1. You know cuba takes in thousands of youngsters from all over the world starting at 14 to give them a training in health care. Not one in 30 yrs has ever committed suicide or been murdered. Canada has so much to learn.

  2. This is so sad its an epedemic with out youth dying or being meglected and abused while in government care its like the new residential schools for us . Wometimes a child is taken from anloving home over little descrepincy and put inot a worse situation the children should be given to famiky first andnif no family is availible then a through and proper investigation should be done on the home they are placed in. My litrle sister juat recently commited suicied in the home shes been in for 10 yrs becsue of the way she was treated there they disnt get her help when she needed they ignored her cries for help and she fot ,olested by a freind of the so called foater parents and was bullied into not testifying and deopping the charge she had to go to court on march 2q of this yr for it and she wouldnt say a thing that day was also her 17 birthday she went bk to the home where she was living in kikino alberta and hung herself later that evening ,y beautiful sister just turned 17 that day she was just at the begining of her young life a beautiful soul gone tooo soon becaue of the kmessed up region 10 foster system who swept the complaints against that hime u der the rug just becaue they were a metis home and she was metis and they had taken in kids before . They left her in that home when my bother who was also in the dame home ran away from thier multiple times over the years he was thwir becsue od the way they were treated and finally he left at the age of 16 he even went as far as to tey walk through miles of bush that connects that settlwmtn to ours the buffalo lake metis setrlwmtn where we r from he walked 10 hrs in the freezing xold and dark to tey come home. I was not notified or contacted to take my sister and brother even though i was at the time legal age and had a house of my own and im never drank or done druge in my life, the government needs to be reateuctured and i stead of placing children in homes that r not safe or situations that r not safe they should be put inot geoup homes that are native run and have thorug backgroud checks done on all staff involved and teach out youth about their culture and take them to tradional events like sweats and powows and so on it would help our youth who are ripped from their homes and forced to live a total different way of life and change who they are . Its a very sad pandemic its all stems back to the residnetial system instead of making quick fixes and saying oh your a native home im gonna put you here then becaue ur a native kid they should have geoup homes on their own settlments or reserrves that way they r still around their family and commu ity memebrs and do not get confused and lost or hurt while in homes . I hope this famiky can get peace and justice it wont bring back this little soul but will maybe give them comfort knowing that maybe something like this will not happen to another child even though its to late for theirs .

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