Thunder Bay

Nishnawbe Aski Nation chiefs hold emergency meeting on student safety

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is holding an emergency chiefs' meeting in Thunder Bay, Ont., today to discuss the safety of students slated to attend school in the city for the 2017-2018 school year.
Valerie Ooshag and Jeremy Monias are members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Youth Council. They are taking part in today's meeting about the safety of Indigenous students in Thunder Bay. (Jon Castell/CBC)

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is holding an emergency chiefs' assembly in Thunder Bay, Ont., today to discuss the safety of students slated to travel to the city from northern First Nations to attend school this fall. 

The meeting comes a day after a First Nations woman, Barbara Kentner, died as a result of injuries sustained when a trailer hitch was thrown at her from a passing car.

A passenger in the car yelled, "Oh, I got one," after the attack, according to Kentner's sister, Melissa Kentner, who was walking with her on McKenzie Street when it occurred.

Increasing awareness of the safety concerns for Indigenous youth, particularly in light of the recent deaths of two Indigenous teens who were visiting Thunder Bay for healthcare, have raised concerns among parents about sending their children to the city for school, according to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

"Many of our parents are fearing for their children, and they're saying, 'You know what?  I want to send my child somewhere else," NAN deputy grand chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum told CBC.

The meeting is expected to wrap up on Thursday.