NAN, Neskantaga Offer Condolences to Family of Missing Teen, Question Missing Persons Process

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias are questioning the reporting process for missing persons in the City of Thunder Bay while expressing heartfelt condolences to the family of missing teenager Mackenzie (Nathan) Moonias.

“Since her disappearance we have hoped and prayed that Mackenzie would be found safe and reunited with her family and friends. Tragically, our worst fears have been confirmed with the sad news of her tragic death today,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the Neskantaga community who are grieving this terrible loss so close to the holidays. They are our focus right now, but this disappearance has raised serious questions about the protocols and procedures around missing person investigations involving Indigenous youth.”

Mackenzie was last seen on December 13, 2023, at approximately 9 a.m. in the 100 block of University Drive. Her body was discovered Monday morning near the Sleeping Giant Parkway.

“On behalf of Neskantaga I thank the family, community members, volunteers, and agencies who supported searches for nearly a week for our missing youth. Many of our youth are forced to leave home as young as 13 or 14 years old in order to pursue their education. They are often faced with challenges they are not prepared for, and it can be an overwhelming experience,” said Neskantaga First Nation Chief Chris Moonias. “It is unacceptable that we continue to bring our youth home in coffins. We fully expect that Mackenzie’s death will not simply be ruled an accident before a thorough and competent investigation is conducted.”

NAN and Neskantaga leadership do not yet fully understand the circumstances regarding this tragic passing and have many questions. We are extremely concerned that gaps in the process for reporting missing persons, identified through the Seven Youth Inquest, are apparently still at play when Indigenous youth are reported missing.

The Seven Youth Inquest examined the deaths of seven First Nations youth who died tragically between 2000-2011 while attending high school in Thunder Bay. In 2016, the Inquest jury made 145 recommendations to prevent similar deaths, many of which have yet to be fully implemented.

Note to Media: Chief Moonias is expected to arrive in Thunder Bay Tuesday. Out of consideration for the privacy of the family, media are asked to please direct all requests to Sharon Moonias-Sakanee at 807-356-2166 or

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

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