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Search for 14 year old ends tragically

By Adam Riley Dec 19, 2023 | 9:28 AM

A 14 year old from Neskantaga who was the subject of a missing persons case has ended on a tragic note.

With the body of Mackenzie Moonias being discovered in the Marina Park area after reported as missing five days prior.

In a release the Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Alvin Fiddler, is expressing his condolences to the family while also questioning the process of reporting a missing person.

“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.”

Also under criticism is the requirement for Indigenous youth to leave their communities for continuing high school 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.”

Concerns are also being put forward on gaps which were identified in the Seven Youth Inquest, which NAN says are still “at play” when Indigenous youth are reported missing.

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, who also serves as the Ontario Opposition critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, says of the 145 jury recommendations from that inquest many have not been implemented in the seven and a half years since the inquest’s release, and stressed of the need to address the lapse.

“Mackenzie was in Thunder Bay to attend high school, they were of of the many people from Kiiwetinoong who leave home to pursue their educational goals…These recommendations were intended to prevent any further loss of our children and must be implemented.”

As of Tuesday morning Police continue to hold the scene where Moonias was discovered.