March 2, 2016
A five-year-old girl has returned to her home on a northern Ontario First Nation months after a brutal assault in her community that left her hospitalized.
The attack has shaken the community, raising questions of safety for its members.
The attack took place September 16, 2015, on the Kasabonika Lake First Nation, a fly-in community about 500 kilometres north of Sioux Lookout, Ont. The little girl’s injuries were so severe that she had to undergo three surgeries and weeks recovering in a London hospital.
The case is being investigated by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Police Services, an organization that serves 35 First Nation communities. Although the force’s spokesperson stated that it was an incident “involving other youth” no charges have been laid.
“She’s doing OK, she’s really happy to see the family,” said the girl’s aunt.
Still, she said the girl isn’t attending school. “She never goes out.”
The aunt said the incident has left her worried about the safety of her own children.
Kasabonika Lake Chief Eno Anderson said initially many wondered if the little girl was going to recover from her injuries.
Community members are still receiving counseling from a trauma team and Anderson said he will also be receiving counseling in March, along with his council members.
“It’s never been done before,” said Anderson. “Anything that happens in our community, the leadership never gets counseling. They’re the front line people.”
When the little girl returned home, she was seen walking and smiling, said Anderson, something that helped the community in a “good way.”
Funds raised, never received by family
There are questions, however, about what happened to the thousands of dollars raised for this little girl and her family.
After the attack, a Go Fund Me campaign raised just over $5,500, which the aunt said was delivered to the girl’s mother.
An additional donation drive was also set up by people from several First Nations communities.
That campaign raised a reported $14,000 before being delivered to the Shibogama Tribal Council, an organization representing four northern Ontario First Nations.
According to the girl’s aunt, the family did not receive any of that money.
When CBC asked a director at the tribal council where those funds are, he would not comment, and directed CBC to contact the chief of Kasabonika.
Anderson said he knew the funds were given to the tribal council, but does not know where the money is now.
“I am not quite sure exactly how much was donated,” said Chief Anderson.