ENCORE: Thunder Bay inquest examines death of 7 First Nations high school students
In Oct. 2015, coroner David Eden launched one of the largest inquests in Ontario's history, an inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations students. They'd left their homes in remote, northern Ontario and travelled to the city of Thunder Bay for high school.
The testimony of the about 150 witnesses who took the stand was filled with stories of the loneliness and racism that the students encountered, as well as alcohol and drug abuse, accusations of inadequate police investigations, and a systemic failure to protect these young people.
You want to scare them because you know. So what do you tell them to scare them? Tell them that somebody can throw [you] in a car and kill you.- Connie Gray McKay, mother of two daughters in high school in Thunder Bay
In March, as the inquest entered its final stages, family and friends hoped for answers.
The Current's Marc Apollonio's documentary, Out There, originally aired in May.
In June, the coroner ruled that the cause of death of Paul Panacheese, Kyle Morriseau, Jethro Anderson, and Jordan Wabasse were undetermined. Robyn Harper, Curran Strang and Reggie Bushie's deaths were deemed to be an accident.
The Ontario Coroner's jury of five then went on to unveil 145 recommendations, some of which included providing a school to any First Nations community that wants one.
- funding early childhood education, daycare and schools the same as every other Ontario school;
- impoverished students to be given the means to phone their parents while they are away at school in Thunder Bay;
- an opportunity to allow these same students the chance to fly home in the fall and holidays;
- And basic standards and inspections in boarding homes for students, including criminal records checks of boarding parents.
This documentary was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio and documentary editor, Joan Webber.