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10-Year-Old Dies in Remote First Nations Fire

By Tim Davidson Feb 1, 2023 | 12:26 PM

Northwestern Ontario is supporting the family of a 10-year-old girl from the far north who passed away after a house fire – as her home community didn’t have access to firefighting services.

A GoFundMe has been created for the Wabano family after their house fire on January 28. Ten members of the family were inside the home at the time, and they’ve since been relocated to the community’s band office.

The fundraising campaign states the family has lost everything – and they’re still dealing with the loss of their 10-year-old daughter, JC, who wasn’t able to make it out of the home in time.

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus says he wrote to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, about the community’s lack of firefighting equipment in 2021, but says he didn’t receive a response. Now, he stressed the government needs to come to the table with a new commitment.

“A beautiful child has been lost in a fire in a community that didn’t have a fire hall, training or supplies. The Wabano family deserved better. The people of Peawanuck deserved better. They deserve the resources to keep families safe,” wrote Angus, on social media.

Grand Chief for the Mushkegowuk Council, who represents the Peawanuck and Weenusk communities, Alison Linklater, sent her support and stressed the Wabano family will be in the region’s prayers.

“Words cannot come close to describing the loss of such a young family member. Most of us can only imagine losing a child so bright and loving. You will remain in the hearts of all Omushkego forever.”

As of the time of writing, the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $32,000 towards its $50,000 goal.

The Weeneebayko Area Health Authority has also been collecting clothing donations for the family at their head office in Moosonee.

The community of Peawanuck is a remote fly-in Cree community on the west coast of Hudson Bay in the Kenora District. Its population used to live in Weenusk First Nation but relocated to higher ground in 1986 after flooding in the area. Peawanuck has a population of under 300.

(With files from Ryan Forbes)


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