NAN Grieves with Family of the Late Jenna Ostberg, Awaits Results of SIU Investigation

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler shares heartfelt condolences and sympathy for the family, friends, and community of Bearskin Lake First Nation as funeral services were held today for the late Jenna Ostberg:

“Today our hearts hurt for Jenna’s family and friends, her community, and everyone touched in many ways throughout her brief but beautiful life. Jenna was a vibrant young woman, with hopes and dreams in front of her. I encourage everyone to remember her in the most positive and loving way possible.

We are all grieving, and that is a necessary process. But people across Nishnawbe Aski Nation and other Nations are also angry. There is a rising demand for answers around Jenna’s tragic passing and the actions of the Thunder Bay Police Service, and we fully support those calls.

Our focus has been, and continues to be, supporting Jenna’s family and helping her community cope with this terrible loss. But this tragedy once again raises serious questions about the Thunder Bay Police Service and its interactions with First Nations peoples.

I am gravely concerned over what we are hearing about the circumstances around her death. Like her family, we are anxiously waiting for the results of a coroner’s report and investigation by the Special Investigations Unit into the actions of the Thunder Bay Police Service. However, we share the fear that their daughter was the latest victim of inadequate and unjust policing received by First Nations peoples in this city.

We have suffered through too many reports and investigations into the loss of our members in Thunder Bay, but we must have faith that the truth about Jenna’s passing will eventually be established. Once we have facts that we can respond to, we will focus on honouring her in the best way possible with the information that is revealed.”

Ostberg, a 21-year-old member of Bearskin Lake, was reportedly found deceased in a residence in Thunder Bay on December 30, 2023. Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit is investigating the Thunder Bay Police Service’s apparent failure to respond to the scene after a 911 call was made from the residence.  

Note to Media: Family members have asked for privacy as they grieve the loss of their daughter. Please direct requests to: Michael Heintzman, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, 807-621-2790 or Anne Chabot, Windigo First Nations Council, 416-579-2940.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790

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