I wish to extend my sincere condolences to Sunshine Winter, mother of Josiah Begg (Body Confirmed To Be That Of Missing Boy - CJ, May 24).

As the mother of a murdered and missing son, I can empathize with the gut-wrenching pain she is dealing with, and will continue to deal with for the rest of her life. Grief and a broken heart know no ethnicity or colour. The broken heart mends but the scars remain.

Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is indeed correct when he says something is wrong, however that "something" has not been caused by the people of Thunder Bay whose city was at one time safe.

The residents did not create a city that was named the Murder Capital of Canada, nor did they create a city where drunks and people spaced out on drugs can be found lying on our streets. They did not create an environment where we read about convenience store robberies almost daily.

That, Chief Fiddler, has been caused in part as the result of the city finding itself the destination of youths wishing to escape an 18th-century system they do not want to be a part of.

It is your failure and that of the leadership which has helped contribute to the tragedies occurring both on the reserves as well as in the city of Thunder Bay.

It is also the responsibility of the federal government seeking to buy the indigenous vote.

A number of these youngsters, who are arriving in large numbers, haven't been taught the work ethic, have no skills to offer a potential employer, subsequently they become the perfect target for drug peddlers and alcohol abuse. Panhandling outside the casino or Intercity mall or the Walmart mall, asking for money for food, when in reality it is for drugs or liquor.

The failure of Chief Fiddler and First Nation leadership to take responsibility for the loss of what can only be described as a generational treasure is appalling.

Who does Chief Fiddler blame for the tragedy of suicides of youngsters on the reserves?

The failure of the leadership to recognize and deal with the despair these young people are facing is inexcusable.

One of the signs of weak leadership is a leader who fails to take responsibility for negative events that occur during his tenure, and instead resorts to pointing fingers and blaming others.

I would suggest, Chief Fiddler, you examine very carefully your level of responsibility and how you and your colleagues intend to address the problem.

Your negative remarks during the search for young Josiah Begg were indeed inappropriate, and again merely confirmed the obvious. You failed to question why this youngster was walking about an unfamiliar city alone. Instead you chose to attack the very men and women who dedicate their working day to protect and serve Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay has an excellent police force. We also have excellent EMT staff as well as dedicated nurses in the ER. I would urge you and your colleagues to visit the ER around 10 or 11 o'clock at night. You might be witness to an absolutely appalling scene of inexcusable behaviour by your youth who curse the nurses, calling them names that cannot be printed in this paper.

The leaders of this city together with the provincial government were remiss in their failure to use McKellar hospital as a satellite facility where those with drug or alcohol addictions could be treated.

Much improvement can be implemented among indigenous people, however the buck stops at your door, Chief Fiddler, not at the wallet of the taxpayer.

Colyne E. Gibbons

Thunder Bay

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