North Spirit Lake family waiting 6 years for closure on son's murder in Kenora

From Nishnawbe Aski Nation press release

NAN and Kakegamic Family Await Chief Coroner Decision - 10/4/2006

THUNDER BAY, ON:  On the sixth anniversary of the death of Max Kakegamic, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler together with Margaret and Isaac Kakegamic await a final decision from Ontario’s Chief Coroner regarding the family’s appeal for an inquest.   

“The Max Kakegamic tragedy points to fundamental flaws in the justice system for First Nation people not only in Kenora, but across Ontario and NAN territory - six years is simply too long to wait for answers,” said Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler who appealed a previous regional decision to deny an inquest to Chief Coroner Dr. Barry Mclellan along with Margaret and Isaac Kakegamic March 27, 2006.   “One of the ways we could see some good come from this tragedy is to have an inquest or a public inquiry.”

North Spirit Lake First Nation community member Max Kakegamic was killed on the streets of Kenora October 4, 2000.   When the case went to trial January 2004, charges against the only suspect were stayed because of irregularities in the investigation.  Kenora Police Services’ Lloyd White, Tom Favreau, and Const. Chris Ratchford were cited for police misconduct in the ruling by Superior Court Justice Peter Hambly. 

Kenora Police Services confirmed with NAN shortly after the 2004 judgement the investigation into the death of Max Kakegamic was not proceeding.

“We’re still waiting for answers and I cannot explain how saddening and frustrating it is that now six years after our son’s death no one is currently being tried for his murder” said Max’s mother Margaret Kakegamic from her home in North Spirit Lake First Nation – one of 49 communities part of NAN.  “It’s difficult for our family to heal without knowing that justice has been served. We haven’t forgotten – it’s the same today as the first day we heard.  It’s as raw as it was then because it’s really hard day-by-day that no one has been held accountable.”

Parents Margaret and Issac Kakegamic together with community members from Kenora and across NAN territory have organized annual memorial walks in Kenora to raise awareness of the family’s quest for justice.   In 2005 the Kakegamics launched a justice fund to assist in pursuing legal action. 

Chief Coroner Mclellan is expected to produce a final decision mid October.  It’s hoped a coroner’s inquest will eventually lead to a public inquiry. 

For more information please contact Jenna Young, NAN Director of Communications at (807) 625 4952 or (807) 628 3953