Thunder Bay police investigating alleged raced-based sexual assault against Ontario First Nations woman - APTN NewsAPTN News

Thunder Bay police investigating alleged raced-based sexual assault against Ontario First Nations woman

APTN National News
THUNDER BAY, Ont.-Thunder Bay police say an investigation has been launched into an alleged race-based sexual assault against an Ontario First Nations woman who was reportedly grabbed off a city street as she walked to a store.

A description of the alleged attack was spreading Sunday across social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

When APTN National News contacted Thunder Bay police an individual, who would only identify himself as Cadet Doucette, said the matter was being looked into and asked if the APTN reporter had any information to pass along. Doucette said police were also aware of a Facebook posting that described the attack.

“We can’t give any information regarding this, but it is being look into,” said Doucette. “I can tell you that someone is working on it.”

Doucette said police also know about a Facebook post describing the attack.

The family has asked that the woman’s identity and her home community remain private for now, said Christi Belcourt, a family friend who is also acting as a spokesperson.

Belcourt, an acclaimed artist who designed a stained-glass window in memory of residential school survivors now installed in Parliament Hill, also said police were investigating the incident.

“It is in fact a true case, it is real,” said Belcourt. “The case is currently under investigation.”

Belcourt said the woman spent a night in hospital and underwent the required tests for sexual assault victims.

Belcourt said the woman, who is in her mid-30s and also a single mother, was walking to a store in Thunder Bay on Thursday at about 9 p.m. when she was grabbed by two men described as Caucasian, pulled into a car and taken to a secluded wooded area.

“She was sexually assaulted, she was beaten and strangled and she was left there,” said Belcourt. “She doesn’t know where she was taken. It took her about four or five hours to walk home.”

Belcourt said the attackers made references to the ongoing protests.

“It was targeted to a First Nations woman,” said Belcourt.

Belcourt said the family and the victim wanted to come forward with the information to warn other women and to appeal for calm.

“They want people to be safe, the victim herself said she wants women to look over their shoulders and make sure they do not walk alone,” said Belcourt. “They urge all supporters of Idle No More under no circumstances to be violent…they just don’t believe in violence.”

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, whose organization represents 39 Ontario communities, including the victim’s, also issued a call for calm.

“This cowardly attack is evidence of the racism that pervades Canada, but we don’t believe that the perpetrators are representative of most Canadians,” said Madahbee. “We offer our support to this woman and her family and ask all our citizens to respect her wish that we do not resort to violence or vengeance.”

21 Responses to “Thunder Bay police investigating alleged raced-based sexual assault against Ontario First Nations woman”

  1. Len Steinhauer December 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    These men need to
    be found now, no more talk! One investigator is not going to cut it, there
    should be and requires at least 10 investigators. I don’t think Anishinabek
    Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee is correct in saying they do not
    believe that the perpetrators are representative of most Canadians. Where has
    this Chief been in the past 4 decades? Everywhere I look there is
    discrimination towards First Nations. The City of Edmonton, Alberta where I was
    born and raised wants to expand the Walterdale Bridge over our traditional cemetery;
    over my dead body! They claim to have permission from 23 groups, what groups?
    This bridge is being built to accommodate the new hockey arena, so they can get
    more people there so the CITY OF EDMONTON can profit; it’s always about money!
    Well I am not going to stand IDOL NO MORE while my ancestors get trampled all
    over again in the name of profit!

    Patty Debassige December 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    OMG, my prayers and strength to the family. I have many times read about Thunder Bay and it’s derogatory treatment of Native Community. I pray for no revenge, and also that the situation does not get worse. Prayers to the family…..

    • Jean Connors December 31, 2012 at 12:27 am #

      my heart goes out to t victim ;family

    brad December 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    People that do these kinds of things make me sick to my stomach.

    Trevor Doering December 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    Who knows. It could have been Government who hired those people to rape that woman. I wouldn’t put it past them.

    Guest December 31, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Facebook mentions of the assault have apparently been taken down, with no notice given.

      apihtawikosisan December 31, 2012 at 12:39 am #

      The mentions went down because the person who originally posted the information took the mention down.

        Cindy Fortin December 31, 2012 at 2:59 am #

        Glad that post was in my news feed this afternoon – I live in TBay and am surprised there was no news about this incident anywhere. It seemed like only after that note was shared, that the story showed up in the news. Apparently there’s no concern for public safety as those two are out driving around preying on the innocent. I checked out and it’s not hard to determine which incident it is. You would think you would be safe on such a short walk to the store.

    • Joyce Hunter December 31, 2012 at 12:58 am #

      I know what you are talking about. But you should also know this: there are some instances where people are creating fake facebook accounts posing under fake names or identities and posting content meant to provoke or incite hate or just to be annoying or meddlesome. The admins have noticed this and they have taken down content that could not be confirmed esp if it was highly sensitive like this incident and first needed to be confirmed.

    • Claudia Julien December 31, 2012 at 2:06 am #

      The person who had written that note did say she was taking it down…she had written it only to raise awareness until the authorities got involved.

    disqus_WTSiFR8eSG December 31, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    This isn’t the first time this has happened, thiis goes on a lot in Thunder Bay.

  7. Jamie James December 31, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    The note that was being distributed on Facebook has disappeared, and there’s no clear reason why. I shared it and a number of my friends shared it too, and it’s just vanished. There are also a number of people being arrested by police in relation to these protests, and while these attacks on indigenous women didn’t start with the Idle No More movement, they need to stop! Indigenous women aren’t disposable!

    At the risk of derailing here, I do just want to mention that Caucasian is actually an ethnicity, not a race. It’s common use to refer to all whites came from the word Caucasoid (forensic anthropology) that describes the physical traits of ethnic whites, but not all whites are Caucasian (most aren’t).

  8. Shawn Kam December 31, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    I bet if it was a caucasian woman and two men described as aboriginal,they’d have a whole division or precinct looking into this.

    gerald_john December 31, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Thunder Bay is the first place I experienced racism!

  10. Maddy Wheesk December 31, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    cowards! … that’s the first thing they attack is the innocent woman and children …. it’s the lowest part of cowardness … KARMA! …

  11. Shelina Wolfspirit December 31, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    The facebook Group they had for this Young lady is GONE, has the police requested it removed, is there something we don’t know???|

  12. Tina Dee December 31, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Thunder Bay is unbelievably racist. Thunder Bay News hardly acknowledges anything positive about native people, for example, barely a word on “Idle No More”. They only focus on news that makes native people look bad. I did not even hear of this story until I read about it on Facebook. Truly sickening.

    J SEVER December 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    This act against one of our first nations sisters is appalling and disgusting.It is time for our women who suffer these kinds of heinous and horrendous attacks, to recieve JUSTICE when these occur. Let us not be discouraged or afraid any longer to bring these criminals to justice, and they be made to pay fully for these horrific crimes. I am a first nation man from saskatchewan, and i urge the first nation people of this area to stand up for your rights and, push for justice for this lady. My heart goes out to our sister and her family for this atrocious act against her. May the creator bless us all, and may she find it in her heart to forgive her savage attackers.

  14. Tony Belcourt December 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    My daughter, Christi Belcourt, posted this on her Facebook page just a while ago:

    “Yesterday we posted a media release on the hate crime committed against a First Nations woman in Thunder Bay.

    Police have confirmed with several media that the crime is currently under investigation.

    The reason why the family asked us to put the information out to the public was they were concerned for the safety of people in Thunder Bay. The perpetrators told the victim they had done that crime before and would do it again. In addition to the racial slurs they also said “you Indians deserve to lose your treaty rights”

    This attack was a hate crime. Plain and simple. It should not be brushed aside. The police need to get these guys off the street. The victim needs justice.

    Protecting Treaty Rights and wanting a clean environment and all the things Idle No More is about in this free and democratic society is honourable. And we know that hatred and racism would show itself. This has to stop. We need law enforcement to be taken to task. Two racially motivated hate crimes were committed. And by their own admission they will do it again.

    In the call for justice for “Angela” who is traumatized and for all our sisters, the Chiefs, our leaders and the grassroots are united.

    This bullshit must end. We are not second class anything. Our daughters matter.”

  15. Jules NelsonBritt December 31, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    the thunder bay police are racial I can confirm this myself, being a overcomer of my addiction to booze ..before in the 90’s one time I got picked up by 2 police men one put on the handcuffs too hard so in the back seat of the car i said theses cuffs are too tight …then he said and i quote ” YOU INIDANS ARE NOTHING BUT TRASH IN THIS CITY THE SOONER WE GET RID OF YOU’S THE BETTER!!’ scared I turned to his parntner who WAS A WOMAN COP WITH BLOND HAIR ..JUST LAUGHED AT ME …and didn’t say nothing to him….just cheering him on….they are racist cops in THUNDER BAY MANY OF THEM and they still get away with shit like that becuase they PROTECT EACH OTHER WHAT ABOUT RENA FOX ???? SHE WAS MURDERED BUT NOTHING NO INVESITGATION WAS DONE TO FIND OUT HER MURDERER…HE’S STILL OUT THERE….and what about those 2 ladies that got raped in the 60’s 2 native women onef rom Rocky bay and the other from Gull bay …nothing was never done to them but put a white boy or girl and tear down the city…..