Wapekeka child texted her friend 'goodbye' and then was gone - APTN NewsAPTN News

Wapekeka child texted her friend ‘goodbye’ and then was gone

Willow Fiddler
APTN National News
A text to a friend saying goodbye.

That’s the last thing 12-year old Jenera Roundsky texted before her friend ran to save her.

But it was too late.

According to Wapekeka First Nation spokesperson Joshua Frogg, Roundsky had been in care of Tikinagan Child and Family Services.

She was identified as high-risk for suicide after two other 12-year-old girls took their lives in January. She was sent out to receive specialized care and sent home to the community about three weeks ago said Frogg.

“Against the advice of a psychiatrist that she was seeing. But Tikinagan insisted she was ready to come home,” said Frogg in a phone call with APTN National News.


Wapekeka spokesperson Joshua Frogg. Photo: APTN

Roundsky was found at the community’s outdoor hockey rink Thursday night. She was taken to the nursing station with serious trauma and pronounced dead at 11:17 pm.

Wapekeka, a fly-in Oji-Cree community of 430 members, sits about 600 km north of Thunder Bay.

“In shock, that’s all I can say right now,” said Chief Brennan Sainnawap in a phone call with APTN Wednesday morning.

The young child was living with her grandparents Elsie and Donny Roundsky. Her father Vernon “Baby Boy” Roundsky died by suicide in 2011 when she was just six-years-old.

Frogg said chief and council was concerned because they hadn’t seen a plan of care or safety plan prior to Roundsky returning home just weeks ago.

“We don’t have enough resources to monitor people 24/7 here. We try but we don’t have enough resources,” said Frogg.

The community has been working to get the necessary resources after the tragic deaths of Jolynn Winter on Jan. 8 and Chantal Fox on Jan. 10. Both girls died by suicide. Immediately after those deaths, high-risk youth were identified and flown out of the community to receive specialized care. Frogg said some are still out in different locations across the country including British Columbia, London and Edmonton.

Jolynn Winter, left, and Chantel Fox.

Jolynn Winter, left, and Chantel Fox.

“If they’ve received the appropriate care they should be home but there should be a plan of care and a health and safety plan in place for them,” said Frogg.

Wapekeka submitted a proposal to Health Canada in July 2016 to fund a suicide prevention program after a suicide pact involving several youth was discovered. That proposal was denied funding.

Health Canada has since committed $380,000 to Wapekeka but Frogg said they have yet to see it.

“It’s already June. We’re stressed to our bones to try to help our people here, help our children,” he said.

Mental health counsellors have been in the community on a rotating basis since January but Frogg said they now need more immediate support.

“This is just devastating for the community. We’re trying to recuperate and we’re trying to stabilize our community and now we’re just back to where we were,” said Frogg.

“It is concerning and it is sad that this child fell through that crack.”



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11 Responses to “Wapekeka child texted her friend ‘goodbye’ and then was gone”

  1. rita.m.doucet@gmaill.com'
    Rita June 20, 2017 at 1:51 am #

    My heart breaks to hear that such a young child has taken her life. She was abandoned at a crucial time of her life. I certainly would look deep into (Tikinagan) who allowed this child to make such a decision. This organization went against a qualified psychiatrists advice. Who carries the blame now, a child’s death is on the hands of those who allowed her to leave the care she was getting. Those workers get the education but forget to put their hearts into their field of work. Been there, seen it firsthand.

  2. joannehusak123@gmail.com'
    Joe June 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    Welcome to Tikinagan Child & Family Services. Founded by our Chiefs and Elders, we live and work in 30 First Nations in Northwestern Ontario. In partnership with these communities, our role is to mentor young parents, support families and protect children.

    Our work is guided by the Tikinagan service model:


    In Ojibway/Oji-Cree, this means “Everyone working together to raise our children.”

    OK so it appears settlers didn’t do a good job and this seems to be no better. What are the answers?

  3. Sandsdyer200@yahoo.com'
    Sandra June 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    Heartbreaking. I will write my MP about prioritizing care in these smaller communities. The government is paying a lot of lip service to improving resources but we are not seeing action.

  4. 123mmorsby@gmail.com'
    Marion Morsby June 16, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    so much talk but then so much lack of commitment to bring these issue together…Life begins at home….so does tragic circumstance..Traditional ways seems to be the new agenda…yet it is talked about but not put into place, This girl was 6 when her father died….she fell through the cracks then….she was 12…what happened to those yrs in between…as with her friends….building a new building will not prevent the issues….many elders need to stand up and new rules of safety and seclusion for the young people to heal from what is going on……there needs to be balance restored and pick yourself up as people….otherwise things will not change…

  5. baylenew@yahoo.com'
    Glenda June 16, 2017 at 2:58 am #

    Tikinagan is a horrible organization run by greedy liars who make false allegations and an organization that puts funding on top of their priorities. They instutionalize teenagers they mistreat children and they pick on parents who love their kids.

  6. Sewindian@yahoo.ca'
    Tsionaktiio June 15, 2017 at 2:03 am #

    Don,t know why they let the girl decide that she was better to go home! Why doesn’t the community have a healing center ? Maybe a teaching them the old ways like dancing, crafts, healing circle with all youth.Children are the future, we need to step up and give help. My heart goes out to the families.

  7. Imorrisseau@outlook.com'
    Ira morrisseau June 15, 2017 at 1:12 am #

    This issue is very hard to talk about considering I have a 9 year old daughter in foster care. I have asked sagkeeng child and family services what I have to do and am waiting for an answer. Last time I was in court I was laughed at by them and was accused of selling guns at minopimatazowin which is on the reserve.

  8. aecook1948@hotmail.co.uk'
    Eric June 15, 2017 at 1:01 am #

    Sad…statement..fell through the cracks…government of canada has to step up…too many children have died due to lack of funds..resources…schools must do more…community must demand more…programs that will help youth…parents, grandparents must become more involved with raising of thier children…land based, cultural identity n pride in being Inninew must be taught to our young.

    • baylenew@yahoo.com'
      Glenda June 16, 2017 at 2:53 am #

      Tikinagan is a horrible organization they are in it for their funding a top priority

    • wildkat19692000@yahoo.com'
      Christine Purdaby June 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

      Yes it takes a whole community to raise a child elder to take care of and a child to take care of the elder

    • wildkat19692000@yahoo.com'
      Christine Purdaby June 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

      Robert Nash is on a journey to help youth in sucide