NAN Joins Family, Community Mourning Loss of Child from House Fire in Weenusk First Nation

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum and the Executive Council are mourning the loss of a 10-year-old girl from a fatal house fire in Weenusk First Nation (Peawanuck) over the weekend:

 “Our prayers have been with the family, first responders, and the entire Peawanuck community since we learned about this tragedy. We join them in mourning the passing of this beautiful child whose young life was taken under the most tragic and heartbreaking of circumstances.

We are in touch with the family and community leaders and have assured them that we will do everything we can to help. Our Crisis Response staff are assisting, and we appreciate the efforts of Mushkegowuk Council and the many others who are providing the needed supports to the family and community. Please join us in prayer for strength and healing for Peawanuck over the difficult days ahead.

Over the years, our communities have lost far too many people to house fires and other emergencies. It is unacceptable that the lives of this young girl and her family were placed at such risk because of the lack of basic firefighting equipment, fire prevention, and emergency services in their community. Our leaders are extremely frustrated that these tragedies continue to happen despite all our best efforts to secure the resources they so desperately need.”

The fire remains under investigation by the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service with assistance from the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office and the provincial coroner’s office.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to assist the family:

First Nation children under 10 have a fire-related mortality rate 86 times greater than non-First Nation children (report by Ontario Chief Coroner, 2021). First Nation people living on-reserve are five times more likely to die in a fire (report by National Indigenous Fire Safety Council).

Peawanuck (‘flint stone’ in Cree) is located approximately 30 kilometres up the Winisk River from the southern coast of Hudson Bay, approximately 400 kilometres northwest of Moosonee, Ontario.

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

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