NAN Joins Community in Mourning as Three Children Laid to Rest in Sandy Lake First Nation

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum and the NAN Executive Council offer condolences as funeral services are being held today in Sandy Lake First Nation for three children who lost their lives in a tragic house fire last month:

“Today we join with the family and community in mourning as they lay to rest three innocent children whose lives were lost under the most tragic and heartbreaking circumstances: Grant Meekis, 9, Remi Meekis, 6 and Wilfred Fiddler, 4. On behalf of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, I am sending our most heartfelt condolences to their parents, Delaynie and Cassandra Meekis, their friends, and everyone in the community.

Pandemic protocols have prevented us from travelling to support the community, but we will do everything we can to comfort them as our people have always done in times of need and sorrow. We thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of sympathy, and I ask that people please join us in prayer for strength and healing over difficult weeks ahead.

Far too many of our families and communities have lost their loved ones like this, and we will renew our efforts to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. We will stand with them to advocate for the improvements to fire prevention and fire safety that they have asked for and so desperately need.

Nothing can ease the pain we feel over the loss of Grant, Remi, and Wilfred, but we can honour them by working together to prevent similar tragedies.”

The January 13 fire broke out in the late evening on the birthday of Grant Meekis. The victims are survived by their parents and three siblings. The fire remains under investigation by the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service with assistance from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office and Ontario Provincial Police Identification Unit.

Sandy Lake First Nation is a remote Oji-Cree community located along the Severn River approximately 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay. It is accessible only by air or seasonal winter roads.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790
mheintzman@nan.ca