North Spirit Lake

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Sounds of North Spirit Lake
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Kakegamic family files civil suit against Kenora Police Services and officers

NAN press release - 4/12/2007

Kakegamics Launch Last Resort Civil Suit

Parents of murdered North Spirit Lake man Max Kakegamic appeared before the Kenora Police Services Board April 11th to discuss the city's police services' failure to conclude the murder investigation that's been stayed since three officers were charged with misconduct in 2004.

Launching a civil lawsuit against Kenora Police Services is Margaret and Isaac Kakegamic's last resort to find justice in the death of their son.

North Spirit Lake First Nation community member Max Kakegamic was killed on the streets of Kenora, ON 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 Service (KPS) officers Lloyd White, Tom Favreau, and Chris Ratchford were cited for police misconduct in a February 2004 ruling by Superior Court Justice Peter Hambly.

KPS confirmed with NAN shortly after the 2004 judgment the investigation into the death of Max Kakegamic would not proceed.

In January 2007 Ontario’s Chief Coroner denied the family’s request to hold an inquest.

Julian Falconer is legal counsel representing the family

Posted by: Communications and Media


From Kenora Miner and News ...

Kakegamic family files $9.9-million lawsuit

By Dan Gauthier - Miner and News - Thursday April 12, 2007

The Kenora Police Service is facing yet another lawsuit related to the unsolved October 2000 murder of Max Kakegamic in Kenora, this time from the victim’s family.

Following a deputation to the Kenora Police Services Board Wednesday at city hall, criticizing the board for a lack of action against those responsible for the botched investigation into Kakegamic’s murder, Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer announced the family had filed a civil suit in Toronto on Tuesday, seeking $9.9 million in damages.

There is already a $5-million civil lawsuit against the board and several Kenora Police officers, filed by the former suspect in the murder, Justin Carambetsos, and his parents in 2005, citing malicious prosecution and a breach of Charter rights.

Charges of manslaughter against Carambetsos were stayed in February 2004 by Justice Peter Hambly, who cited police misconduct during the investigation for his ruling.

Max Kakegamic was found dead at the corner of Third Street South and Matheson Street in Kenora on Oct. 4, 2000. An autopsy determined that the 28-year-old had bled to death after a blow to the neck.

The plaintiffs in the family’s lawsuit include Max’s parents Margaret and Isaac Kakegamic (Kakekagumick), his widow and child, as well as several brothers and sisters, most of who are from North Spirit Lake First Nation.

The defendants named are Kenora Police officers Tom Favreau, Lloyd White, Chris Ratchford, former chief George Curtis and the Kenora Police Services Board.

Falconer said the suit sues for negligent investigation by the Kenora Police, as well as differential or discriminatory policing for aboriginals versus non-aboriginals.

“It’s a systemic failing within the system,” said Falconer.

“A systemic failing that leaves aboriginal communities receiving a different level of policing than the rest of the communities.”

Falconer said the suit isn’t about how much money the Kakekagumick family can get, it’s about trying to get some accountability and some answers as to why the murderer of their son was not found.

Falconer noted that the family was denied an inquest by the Chief Coroner of Ontario in January, the key officer in the investigation -- Favreau -- retired before his hearing late last year, and Carambetsos’ trial was stayed in 2004.

“This lawsuit has been started because all other remedies, all other channels, have failed,” said Falconer.

He also claimed the Kenora Police Services Board was aware of the systemic racism against aboriginals in the local police service, and should have taken steps to address it.

“And they may well be legally obligated to,” said Falconer, who cited a Supreme Court of Canada ruling to support his position.

“They certainly are morally.”

Although several parties were named in the suit, the family’s concern focused on the lack of disciplinary action against Favreau, the lead investigator.

Falconer said Favreau was in charge of a case that “went not just sideways, it absolutely tanked.”

He noted how Favreau was removed from the case, but was never disciplined, as he elected to retire the day before his disciplinary hearing was finally set to be heard.

“There is a serious flaw in how this matter unfolded,” said Falconer.

He questioned the Kenora Police Services Board why it took five years to bring Favreau before a disciplinary hearing, if he was allowed to collect a salary and continue his duties during that time, and why he could retire before the hearing with no consequences regarding his misconduct.

“Sgt. Favreau should have been brought and made accountable,” said Falconer. “This should not have unfolded the way it did.”

Max’s mother, Margaret Kakegamic, also addressed the police services board on Wednesday, with a portrait of her son displayed on a seat next to her.

She said she found it hard to believe that after five years nothing was done to Favreau, even though his misconduct had been brought to the board back in 2001. She also questioned why no one ever officially acknowledged the wrongdoings that took place in her son’s murder investigation.

“I ask you the board, how can that happen? Why was there no justice for me and my family?” Kakegamic asked.

In addition to family members and supporters from the public, Treaty 3 Grand Chief Arnold Gardner and Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler attended Wednesday’s deputation in support of the Kakegamic family.

“These kinds of activities are not going to be tolerated in our territory. We’re going to do something about it,” said Gardner following the deputation, noting that Treaty 3 is organizing action groups to address racism issues in the local justice system.

Fiddler encouraged Treaty 3 and the community to continue with these initiatives to address racism issues, but added that the Kenora Police Services Board also needs to to address the “injustices of the past.”

“In our eyes, and in the eyes of many First Nation people, there is not greater injustice than what happened to Max Kakegamic and his family,” said Fiddler.

“The system has failed them at every level, at every turn, and they have no choice but to start a lawsuit.”

Kakegamic family continues to seek justice in Kenora murder of their father/son

Notice from the Anishninaabe Peace & Justice Coalition...

This is to let you know about important events happening this Wednesday morning April 11.  The family of Max Kakegamic and their lawyers will be making a presentation to the Kenora Police Services Board at 9 a.m., followed by a press conference and a walk down Main St. from City Hall to Matheson St. site of Kakegamic’s death.  As always, the family appreciates the presence and support of Anishinaabe Peace & Justice Coalition supporters and other concerned Treaty 3 and Kenora citizens.

NAN and Aboriginal Legal Services MEDIA ADVISORY ...


THUNDER BAY, ON, Tuesday April 10, 2007: Margaret and Isaac Kakegamic (Kakekagumick), members of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) together with their legal counsel and NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will address issues arising from the failures of the Kenora Police Service (KPS) in investigating the death of their son Max Kakegamic during a KPS Board meeting tomorrow morning.

DATE: Wednesday April 11, 2007
TIME: 9:00 a.m.
LOCATION: Kenora City Hall, City Hall Council Chambers, 1 Main Street South, Kenora, ON P9N 3X2

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

KPS confirmed with NAN shortly after the 2004 judgment the investigation into the death of Max Kakegamic would not proceed. In January 2007 Ontario’s Chief Coroner denied the family’s request to hold an inquest.

The Kakagamics will make a statement to media following their presentation to the KPS board at approximately 9:10 a.m. The Board meeting is open to the public.

For more information please contact:

Jenna Young, Director of Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625 4952 or (807) 628 3953 mobile

Kimberly Murray, Executive Director, Aboriginal Legal Services, (416) 408 4041 ext. 225 or (416) 219 8569 mobile

North Spirit Lake First Nation member wins award from Project Beyshick

NAN press release ....

NAN Member Receives Business Award

THUNDER BAY, ON, Feb. 28 - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler together with Minister for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Harinder Takhar, POA Educational Foundation Chairman Aditya Jha, and Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) president Harvey Yesno, awarded contest winner Darcy Kejick with $15,000 toward a business plan during an awards event today at Queen's Park.

Darcy Kejick from North Spirit Lake First Nation (one of NAN's 49 Ontario First Nation communities) received the award for a business plan submitted following his participation in Project Beyshick 2006 - an annual one week youth job-shadowing program focused on entrepreneurship among First Nation youth.

The inaugural award recognizes the participant who prepares the most feasible professional business or career plan.

"A quite intensive schedule was prepared for me to spend my time within the various areas of the bank, job-shadowing and meeting important people who work in each area," said Kejick who job-shadowed HSBC Senior Vice President Geoff Hoy August 2006. "The program is a real eye-opener if you're interested in venturing into the world of business or even if you're curious about it."

Kejick's business plan for "North Spirit Foods" - a grocery store in his First Nation community located northwest of Sioux Lookout - was one of 10 submitted by Project Beyshick 2006 participants.

"The grocery store will provide North Spirit Lake First Nation with all grocery needs, including the much needed diet of dairy and fresh produce," said Kejick. "The store will also meet the needs of those individuals with special dietary needs, diabetes for example."

Kejick expects building materials to arrive in North Spirit Lake mid March via winter road and building will begin this Spring.

Project Beyshick was developed by POA Educational Foundation and Nishnawbe Aski Nation in 2005. NAN youth are partnered with Toronto business executives in their area of interest - job-shadowing for one week learning through mentorship and being part of the staff.

Some of the businesses involved in the past two years include FedEx, TV Ontario, Globe and Mail, HSBC, Trillium Hospital, Canada Trust, ICICI Bank, Bell Canada, GlobalMaxx Technologies, and AMJ Campbell Van Lines.

"Project Beyshick has been an important step in promoting business skills among the NAN youth who've taken part, but it doesn't end there. The youth who've taken part in the job-shadowing program in the past two years are the best examples of the program and its benefits," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. "The recognition of Darcy's business plan and the option for other candidates to pursue other support to develop their business plans, are perfect examples of how this experience can open up realistic opportunities for success at the community level."

"Project Beyshick serves as a platform for success in that it helps to enhance leaders with the training and financial backing to succeed," said POA Chairman Aditya Jha. "This inaugural award brings us closer to our vision of a social venture fund for First Nation people."

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is an Aboriginal political organization representing 49 First Nation communities within James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario First Nations part of Treaty 5 - an area spanning two-thirds of Ontario with a total approximate population of 45,000 members on and off reserve.

POA Educational Foundation is a charitable foundation aiming to provide support for educational and entrepreneurial initiatives that target regions with specific challenges and pressing needs.

For further information: Jenna Young, Director of Communications, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4952, (807) 628-3953 (cellular); Lee Arbon, Hyperactive Communications, (905) 278-5500 ext. 225


From the Toronto Star ...

Native entrepreneur tries food for thought - Winning business plan pits produce against rampant diabetes

Mar 08, 2007 - Prithi Yelaja - Staff Reporter

Fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce commodities in the remote northern community Darcy Kejick calls home.

The lack of healthy food choices, along with a lack of exercise, help explain why diabetes is rampant in North Spirit Lake, a tiny Nishnawbe Aski Nation community about 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.

That's why Kejick plans to use the $15,000 prize he collected as the winner of a business plan competition – sponsored by a South Asian entrepreneur in Toronto – to open a new grocery store in his hometown of about 300. His store would be stocked with fresh produce, dairy, bread and organic products, all to encourage fellow residents to eat healthier.

The number of people with diabetes in Ontario doubled between 1995 and 2005. Aboriginal people are among those at highest risk because of diet and lifestyle, according to a new Toronto study.

Kejick, 34, knows this first-hand.

"I'm a diabetic myself. You could say it's an epidemic on the reserve, so I'm just trying to do my part to curb the problem," says Kejick, whose parents are also both diabetic.

For 10 months of the year, fresh produce has to be flown in from Red Lake, near the Manitoba border. The lack of a store with adequate refrigeration and cooling facilities in North Spirit Lake means those supplies go fast.

Of the two existing stores, one is run out of someone's bedroom, the other is "more like a shed," says Kejick.

"Both tend to stock a lot of junk food and stuff you can store for a long time, like canned items or stuff you can throw in the microwave and heat up fast." Frozen french fries are a big seller.

Kejick picked up his award, sponsored by the POA Educational Foundation, at an elegant high-tea ceremony at Queen's Park this week.

"The only route for First Nations people to achieve prosperity is entrepreneurship," says Aditya Jha, 50, the Toronto businessman who started the foundation along with his two partners, who prefer to stay out of the limelight, as a way to uplift aboriginal people. (POA represents the initials of the partners' first names.)

"If I can do it, they can do it. In Canada, no community gets respect until they make money in a mainstream business," says the straight-talking Jha.

He should know. He immigrated to Canada from India via Singapore in 1994 and became a multi-millionaire when he and his partners sold their software company to Sun Microsystems in 2001, for a reported $100 million (U.S.)

Jha was alerted to the plight of Canada's aboriginal people when he heard Stan Beardy, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, speak at a black tie dinner in 2005.

Since then, the foundation has created a $100,000 endowment fund at Trent University for aboriginal students.

He has also announced plans to raise $5 million to establish an "incubation centre" at Ryerson University to foster aboriginal entrepreneurship, and kick-started it with his own $500,000 donation.

Kejick was part of a mentoring program, Project Beyshick, now in its third year, which pairs a dozen or more native people with senior executives at large Toronto companies. Participants in that program were eligible to take part in the business plan competition.

For a week last summer, Kejick job-shadowed Geoff Hoy, a senior vice-president at HSBC Bank in Toronto.

Kejick's new store, next to the gas station he operates in North Spirit Lake, is slated to be open for business by September, with the help of a bank loan.

"He's already a successful guy, so he'll do well," says Jha. "The promised land is here for him to grab."

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

North Spirit Lake explores mining partnerships with Ont Geological Survey team

On April 18 & 19, 2006, the Ontario Geological Survey department of M.N.D.M. held an information meeting in North Spirit Lake.

The presentation was on the “Far North Geological Mapping Initiative”, a 3 year program, now into its second year.

Presenters travelling to North Spirit Lake for this meeting included:

  • Andy Fyon, Director, Ontario Geological Survey, Sudbury
  • Lori Churchill, Information and Engagement Officer, Sudbury
  • Jack Parker, Senior Manager, Precambrian Geoscience Section, Sudbury
  • Andreas Lichtblau, Regional Resident Geologist, Red Lake

The intent of the “Far North Geological Mapping Initiative” is to produce up-to-date and more detailed geological maps for the mining industry (Data collection, Analysis, Delivery & Marketing).

The presentation is part the program’s “Aboriginal Engagement Approach”

  1. Activity this fall, airborne geophysical surveying.
  2. Activity next year, data collection by ground crews in the North Spirit Lake area. (3 crews of 5)
  3. Opportunities for North Spirit Lake First Nation :
    • Training (in the community) for “prospecting” and “claim staking”
    • Employment opportunities for First Nations individuals (line cutting)
    • First Nations individuals staking claims.
    • Joint ventures with mining industry.
    • Term position available for an information co-ordinator/liason person in the community.

This was an important step by the Ministry, to engage the First Nations community by way of meeting each other and exchanging information.

Visit for more information

Video available, at

North Spirit Lake gets new teacherages as a step towards their new school

North Spirit Lake First Nation received some more good news concerning further progress on the North Spirit Lake new school project.
A meeting in North Spirit Lake, this past Wednesday with Chief & Council and K.O. Public Works, has initated the work on tenders for delivery and construction of 3 new teacherage buildings in the community. Bruce Piercy, KO Engineer (, has more background info concerning this project.


NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT of an environmental assessment 

North Spirit Lake First Nation New School Construction Project
North Spirit Lake Indian Reserve (ON)

August 10, 2005 -- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will conduct a screening commencing on August 10, 2005 of the project: North Spirit Lake First Nation New School Construction Project.

The proposed project will be developed on-reserve in the central area of the community and involves development of a 4.75 ha. area which is currently undeveloped, forested land in close proximity to the Flanagan River and North Spirit Lake. The school building will house Grades K4-10 and will have a floor space of 1,545 m2 encompassing 4 standard classrooms, 1 kindergarten, and rooms for administration, library/resource centre, auditorium/gymnasium, computer, staff room, educational storage, councillor and quiet room. On-site fuel storage will be limited to a 2-week supply complying with current TSSA standards. In addition to the school construction, the project scope includes development of a new bus turn around to serve the school, extension of the munipical water system to the school site, connection to the community sewer line, construction of an unheated warehouse with a footprint of 100 m2, and construction of fenced playfield including soccer fiels and baseball diamond, play structures, hard surface play area, hockey rink with lighting, bus loop, and parking area. The project will confirm to a number of standards including the National Building Code and the Canada Labour Code. Disposition of the existing school and remediation of any contaminated soils associated with this site are being addressed under a separate project.

Under section 5 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, an EA is required for this project because Indian and Northern Affairs Canada may provide financial assistance to the proponent for the purpose of enabling the project.

For further information on this environmental assessment, please contact:
Dan Baxter
Capital Management Officer
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
Suite 101, 100 Anemki Drive
Thunder Bay  ON  P7J 1A5
Telephone: (807) 624-1569
Fax: (807) 623-3616
Email address:

and refer to CEAR reference number  05-01-13610

North Spirit Lake entrepreneur wins at 15th Annual NAN Business Awards gala

Darcy Kejick, a former North Spirit Lake chief and councillor, was presented with two awards at the 15th Annual Nishnawbe Aski Nation Business Awards in Thunder Bay on Wednesday, November 30. He was awarded  the Youth Entrepreneur of Year and the Partnership of the Year trophies at this event. Darcy and his wife Susan started Darcy and Susan's Gas Bar in North Spirit Lake in 2001. He told the Chronicle-Journal that he started his business because "it was my dream" and there was a "community need for it".

Other winners include:

  • Laureen Wassaykeesic (Laureen's Grocery and Gas) - Business Woman of the Year
  • Bruce Brunette (B & M Auto Repair) - Business Man of the Year
  • Thomas Tookate (Attawapiskat Development Corporation) - Executive of the Year
  • Attawapiskat Development Corporation - Development Corporation of the Year
  • Bamaji Lake Development Corporation - Building Communities
  • Long Lake No. 58 General Store - NeeChee Achievement Award

The awards gala is organized annually by the Nishnawbe Aski Development Corporation (NADF). Click here for more information about NADF and this annual event (under Business Awards).

Fourth anniversary of Max Kakegamic tragic murder - still waiting for justice

Max Kakegamic's family, friends and supporters gathered in Kenora on Monday, October 4 to remember Max as a father, husband, son, uncle and friend to many. Everyone involved in the Anishinaabe Peace and Justice Coalition in Kenora is calling for a fair and just resolution of this murder case.

Click here to see the pictures of the march in Kenora and the ceremonies.

Click on any of the following items to read the Word document

Click here to read the coverage in the Kenora Miner News

Support and prayers for justice for the Kakegamic family of NSL and Fort Hope

The following appeal has gone out to all First Nations and their organizations to lend their support to the Kakegamic family of North Spirit Lake and Fort Hope. Check out the news coverage of the murder trial in Kenora by going to the links at the bottom of this story.


For the Kakegamic family of North Spirit Lake/Fort Hope

in Kenora for the criminal trial in the tragic death of Max Kakegamic in Oct. 2000.

Margaret and Isaac Kakegamic, Max’s parents, and his widow Karen have come to Kenora from North Spirit and Fort Hope at the request of the Victim/Witness office of the Ministry of the Attorney General for the duration of the trial by jury, which began Jan.13 and is expected to run until early March. So far the Victim/Witness Assistant Cheryl Horne has been the main support to the family, and others from Kenora have been stopping in once in awhile. The Kakegamics sit quietly every day at the back of the courtroom watching and listening. There is a noticeable absence of other First Nations people in the courtroom. They appreciate those who have dropped by or visited them, as this continues to be a challenging time in their lives.

Even though Mr. & Mrs. Kakegamic both attended residential schools here years ago (Cecilia Jeffery and St. Mary’s respectively), they don’t really know anyone in Kenora and are not familiar with resources we have to offer. They do not have a vehicle and get around by taxi. As well the Kakegamics have children with them - ages 2, 4, 11 – and two other family members to help with the kids. While the Kakegamics spend Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 at the courthouse, the children and their caregivers stay in the hotel room, with a lot of time and energy on their hands.


Attend court

(Main Floor, Courtroom #1, Kenora Courthouse, Water St.)

Our visible presence in the courtroom throughout the trial will give strength to the family and express our concern as a community in justice for Aboriginal people. The usual daily court schedule is Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with lunch from 1 to 2:15, but can vary.

Share resources

  • the family would probably enjoy being part of activities, community events, outings
  • they could use some extra support to help out with child care, laundry/clothing, books, toys, games for the children


Mary Alice Smith, Community Justice Project Coordinator or Lucy Percy, Secretary-Receptionist at Nechee Friendship Centre 468-5440; email:

Maybeline Hunter/Darrell Mandamin, criminal courtworkers 468-9657 (courthouse)

For More Information about this trial:

The Kenora Daily Miner and News is providing extensive coverage (daily, front page and editorials),