Derek Hamilton, president of CUPE 5911, and Nicole Runge, vice president of CUPE 5911, two Indigenous leaders of the union that represents paramedics in Kenora District, released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death on the Onigaming First Nations reserve on September 15.

Currently, there is a thorough and vital investigation into the circumstances. CUPE 5911 is cooperating fully with this important investigation while supporting our frontline paramedics through this difficult time.

We also continue to be mindful of the systemic racism and historical impacts of residential schools on Indigenous communities and families, further worsened by decades of underfunding and poor access to health care and social programs.  

Today, we are calling on all levels of government for immediate investment to underserved Northern communities to help address poverty, homelessness and addictions issues that often lead to crisis situations. CUPE 5911 is committed to working with Indigenous leaders as part of a catalyst for change.”