First Nations student recalls 'very scary' experience in Thunder Bay
A young woman from Keewaywin First Nation in northern Ontario has told a coroner's inquest jury she was physically assaulted by police in Thunder Bay when she was taken into custody for drinking when she was 15 years old, and was later shown racially offensive drawings while she was in a holding cell.

Skye Kakekagumick was testifying at the inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations students who died while attending school in Thunder Bay.

She was with one of the students, Robyn Harper, on the night she died in 2007, but Kakekagumick was also questioned by lawyers at the inquest about her general experiences as a student in the city.

Kakekagumick testified that within days of arriving in Thunder Bay when she was 15, she was drinking with friends when police arrived and a male officer began “body searching” the female students.

“I said, ‘shouldn’t a lady cop be searching me?’” Kakekagumick told the inquest. “I guess he was just frustrated with me…he grabbed my hair and he slammed my head [into the police car].

Robyn Harper, from Keewaywin First Nation, was 18 years old when she died in Thunder Bay while attending high school there in 2007. (CBC)

"There was a dent in the car…my head was hurting,” she testified.

A group of girls were taken to the police station and put in holding cells where it was “scary and we were just crying,” she testified.

“The cops were in there just laughing at us,” Kakekagumick told the inquest. “They would hold up a paper… and draw cartoons of a native and say savage on there…and draw sad faces that said 'boo hoo.’”

A spokesperson for Thunder Bay police told CBC News that police would not comment on testimony that is before “an active inquest.”

Kakekagumick also answered lawyers’ questions about other incidents of racism she said she experienced in the city.

She testified that several times, food was thrown at her from passing vehicles and people made a war-whooping noise and yelled things such as “stupid savage, go back home.”

“It’s very scary,” Kakekagumick told the inquest. “To them, we are just savages, they think it’s funny. Like some people when they pick on a dog, or torture it, they think it’s funny. They treat us like that.” […]

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BBQ Country Ribs

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Beer and BBQ country ribs are on the menu for dinner. Today the ribs are cooking in what has become my favorite kitchen roaster – a Swiss Diamond covered roaster like this one .   It handles everything from roasting chickens, a leg of lamb and a…

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Racism and discrimination are killing indigenous people, MP says
A "swirling storm" of racism and discrimination is killing indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ont., says Patty Hajdu, an MP for the northwestern Ontario city and minister for the status of women.

A “swirling storm” of racism and discrimination is killing indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ont., says Patty Hajdu, an MP for the northwestern Ontario city and minister for the status of women.

Hajdu said her experience running a homeless shelter in Thunder Bay, before becoming a Liberal cabinet minister last year, showed her the deadly consequences of racism.

Speaking outside the inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations students in the city, Hajdu said racism is a sad reality of life, and death, for indigenous people in the city.

“There’s a swirling storm of racism and discrimination against people who use substances and people who are in poverty, and it all comes together in a perfect storm where people are actually dying, because they can’t access the services they need,” she said.

Several friends and classmates of the students who died have testified at the inquest about experiences of racism in Thunder Bay after they moved from their remote First Nations to attend high school in the city.

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Police treat Aboriginal people as 'less than Canadian', Thunder Bay lawyer says
A Thunder Bay, Ont., lawyer says he wants to take an Ontario Provincial Police officer to court for breaking the shoulder of a First Nations woman during her arrest.

“ Muckuck was charged with assaulting her partner and then assaulting a police officer during her arrest in Pickle Lake, Ont. The Anishinaabe woman was found not guilty on both charges by a judge who also ruled the injuries to Muckuck were caused by police at the time of her arrest. “

Indigenous cases treated by police as 'less than worthy victims,' lawyer says
Woman says her nephew's disappearance not taken seriously by Thunder Bay, Ont., police

An inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations students in Thunder Bay, Ont., is providing a preview of concerns that could be raised at a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, says a lawyer for the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The inquest, one of the largest in Ontario’s history, started on Oct. 5 and is scheduled to run to March 2016.

It’s looking at the deaths of students who died between 2000 and 2011 while attending high school in Thunder Bay. Few remote First Nations in northern Ontario have schools that go beyond Grade 10.

“Sadly there’s a theme — less than worthy victims,” lawyer Julian Falconer said after cross-examining an officer with the Thunder Bay police at the inquest.

“It’s a theme that ties into not just this case but the entire picture around missing and murdered indigenous women and girls: less than worthy victims, I can sadly say this is part of that bigger picture,” he said.

The retired police officer testified at the inquest that Thunder Bay police did not launch a criminal investigation into the death of Jethro Anderson until six days after he was reported missing in October 2000.

The body of the 15-year-old was pulled from the Kaministiquia River in Thunder Bay on Nov. 11, 2000, nearly two weeks after he disappeared.

Anderson, from Kasabonika Lake First Nation, was staying with his aunt, Dora Morris, while he attended the First Nations high school in Thunder Bay.

Morris told the inquest that she called Thunder Bay police about her nephew’s disappearance within hours of him missing curfew, but her concerns were not taken seriously.

“I called every day just to ask if they had any leads,” Morris told CBC News in an interview after she testified. “And every time I called, the answer was always, ‘He’s just out there partying like any native kid,’ those kind of comments.”

The comments, along with a police news release saying no foul play was suspected in Anderson’s death sent out prior to a post-mortem, show police had “tunnel vision” when it came to the investigation, Falconer said at the inquest.

“The police have a tendency to default to a drowning and liquor scenario, literally, almost automatically,” Falconer said of the investigations of five students whose bodies were pulled from local rivers, as well as other similar recent deaths of First Nations people.

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Thunder Bay police don’t understand why joking about an aboriginal murder victim is grotesque
And now the police are angry about a human rights complaint about it all from three first nations, represented by the Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer. The police say the natives have broken faith with them. Now that’s funny!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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As the days get shorter and the temperatures start to drop I can’t help but feel a little lucky that we have gotten as far as we have with unseasonably warm temperatures. Of course it can’t last forever and it’s almost nice to see a little bit of the white stuff fall. It’s that time of year after all and it doesn’t really feel like Christmas without at least a little frosting on the landscape.

Driving around in the early dark it’s nice to see the seasonal glow that accompanies all the decorating that has gone up around the city and it all kind of just starts to put you in the holiday spirit.

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With some baking done and out of the way the sweeter part of holiday kitchen work duties are winding down and although there is always a little more dessert baking to be done we can finally start to turn some attention to that big holiday meal. I’ve had some amazing meals this year without a doubt. I mean it’s pretty hard not to with as many amazing eateries as we have here but it’s the big Christmas dinner that really is the epitome of culinary enjoyment for the year.


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Christmas dinner may not be the fanciest or most expensive meal you’ve eaten all year but there is for sure just something about it that makes it magical and just that more special than any other meal. Of course the season brings a sense of warmth and giving and being around family are both a huge part of why this one meal is so spellbinding but food has a big role to play too.

Slow roasted meats, hearty and sweet winter vegetables, rich and buttery potatoes, stuffing and warm delicious breads all help to make up the Tastitude that is Christmas dinner.

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The Christmas meal is most definitely is comfort food at its finest. There isn’t any part of the meal that isn’t just as delicious as the next but as good as it all is those rich and buttery potatoes are something I just can’t resist.



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Smooth and creamy with that buttery sheen there is nothing in my book that compares to light and fluffy potatoes under a rich and velvety waterfall of decadent wine laced turkey gravy. It’s not a complicated dish by any means but there are a few things that can make or break a delicious batch of mashed potatoes.

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Picking the right potato is of course key and Yukon Gold is my choice for mashed. They are high in starch and make for the best final product.

Once cooked a ricer is the best way to make the actual mash. It keeps the starches from getting over worked and saves you from developing glue like textures. Once it’s time to start adding other ingredients you want to make sure your liquids that get mixed in are and that you season very well. The final step is the garnish. A little crispy fried onion, a pat of butter, some shaved cheese or all of the above put dish up just one step higher.

No matter how you decide to make your Christmas dinner this year if you make potatoes take a little time to clip this one out and you’ll be sure to have white and fluffy mashed potatoes that will help make your holiday table begin to look a lot like Christmas. – Chef House

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Christmas Mashed Potatoes

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2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic
Kosher salt and Fresh Pepper to taste
1 ½ cups heavy cream, warm
1 stick cold butter

Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot. Cover with cold water and season generously with salt. The water should taste like the ocean.

Bring the pot of water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and garlic well and pass through a food-mill or ricer.

While passing the potatoes, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.

Once the cream has come to a boil remove from the heat.

While the potatoes are still hot add 1/3 of the cream and butter and stir vigorously into the potatoes.

Repeat this process 2 more times until all of the cream and butter has incorporated.

Taste the potatoes for seasoning and add salt and pepper.

Serve immediately or cover with foil and keep warm in an oven on low heat.

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Chef House

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Thunder Bay talks racism: What is it like to be white?

Whites rarely reflect on how their skin affects them in their daily life. But at a recent event in Thunder Bay hosted by The Agenda on the Road, people did. And what someone said about the white experience is sure to shock some.

Thunder Bay Police look for missing woman, Gabrielle Wyer (Found Safe)
Missing First Nations woman last seen on July 29

Thunder Bay Police are asking for help to locate a missing woman.

Gabrielle Wyer, 27, was last seen on July 29, 2015 at about 1 p.m. at the Relax Motel on Cumberland Street.

Wyer is described as a First Nations woman, 5 foot 9 inches tall, slender build with long brown hair and brown eyes.

Police said the woman’s family is very concerned for her well-being.

Anyone with information on Gabrielle Wyer’s whereabouts is asked to call Thunder Bay Police.

She’s been found safe:

Thunder Bay Police are now reporting they have safely located Gabrielle Wyer.