Family of 17-year-old Braiden Jacob 'easing down a bit' thanks to community support, says Webequie FN Chief
Chief Cornelius Wabasse is in the northwestern Ontario city this week
The chief of Webequie First Nation has travelled to the northwestern Ontario city this week to support the family of the 17-year-old boy, Braiden Jacob, whose body was found on Sunday at Chapples Park in Thunder Bay after he was reported missing earlier this month.
"Right now, we're holding a dinner with the family and also some entertainment, gospel music, just to support the family during this time," said Cornelius Wabasse. "They took it really hard but with a lot of support that's around, it's easing them down a bit ... and it's helping the family a lot."
As a remote community located approximately 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Wabasse said "his people have been impacted" by this devastating news as they are a "very close knit community."
He said Jacob was in Thunder Bay with his family for counselling due to "previous grieving and losses," and although the incident is still under investigation, he feels that the Thunder Bay Police Service has been "supportive and very receptive to helping the family and also the community."
Upcoming review of Thunder Bay Police Service
The Office of the Independent Police Review Director announced earlier this month that results of its investigation into the Thunder Bay Police will be released on Wednesday, December 12.
The province's civilian police oversight body began examining the way city police treat the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous people since November 2016.
"I think it would be wise to look into those cases again and see and find out what is it that we can do more to get the answers for those questions that were never answered yet," Wabasse said.
He said he believes the relationship between the Indigenous community and the local police needs to improve, however, so does the services in the community as well.
"I think we need to continue to work together and find a balance [to] make things work for all the people here in the city and also the aboriginal population," Wabasse explained.