October 20th, 2020

Family, First Nation leaders want public inquiry Indigenous teen’s death

By The Canadian Press on October 15, 2020.

First Nations leaders and the family of an Indigenous teen who was found dead in a group home in British Columbia last month are calling for a public inquiry into his death.

A great aunt of the 17-year-old boy says the family trusted the government and Aboriginal Agency to care for the boy.

She says the family still hasn’t been told what happened in the time leading up to his death or what efforts were made to look for him in the days after he died.

She says that too often, Indigenous children have not been cared for and her great nephew’s death is an example of systemic racism.

Abbotsford police have said a group-home care worker reported the 17-year-old missing Sept. 15 and he was found dead three days later but their investigation did not find grounds for criminal charges.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has said the teen was found in the closet of his bedroom at the Aboriginal Agency group home where he was last seen, and had been there the whole time.

The boy’s great aunt was joined by leaders from the First Nations Summit, B.C. Assembly of First Nations and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs in calling for the public inquiry.

“Only a public inquiry can address the systemic racism,” said Judy Wilson of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

The First Nation groups say a public inquiry would ensure that all of the information about how each body or agency acted is made fully transparent, instead of investigations conducted separately by the Ministry of Children and Families or the police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2020.

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