Tag Archives: Fort William

Hornepayne Elders Face Lawsuit From NAN Over Office Occupation

Elders from the Hornepayne First Nation have been occupying the NAN Head Office on Fort William First Nation since April 8 2015.

Elders from the Hornepayne First Nation have been occupying the NAN Head Office on Fort William First Nation since April 8 2015.

By James Murray in Anishinabek | NNL, Posted 25 May 2015

Office Occupation Leads to Legal Action

Since April 8 2015, Elders from the Hornepayne First Nation have been occupying the Financial Head Office of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, located on the Fort William First Nation.

The dispute is over the recognition of the Hornepayne First Nation election.

NAN has been protesting the occupation of their offices. The issue is ramping up now as NAN Corporate Services c.o.b. as Nishnawbe Aski Nation have filed suit in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Ron Kocsis and the Hornepayne Elders.

The suit seeks an order from the court prohibiting the Elders from being present in the NAN Head Office as well as the NAN Offices on Victoria Avenue, in Thunder Bay.

NAN is also seeking “An interim and final Order that the Anishinabek Police Service, the Thunder Bay Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, and all other police officers in Ontario shall assist the plaintiff in enforcing the Order, and more particularly that the said police officers shall use such means including physical force, as are reasonably necessary to enforce the Order…”

NAN is seeking damages in the amount of $100,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $50,000.

The core of the issue starts with the election of the Hornepayne Chief and Council.

NAN States they Can’t Interfere

NAN stated in a letter to both Ron B. Kocsis and Laura Mederios that, “NAN cannot recognize a Hornepayne Chief until the leadership dispute has been resolved, whether by a final court order or a written agreement. Until that happens no representative from Hornepayne can be registered as NAN member for voting”.

The Elders from Hornepayne content that Chief Laura Mederios has not held and election for over ten years, and that a legal and binding election was held.

In earlier coverage, NetNewsLedger reported on April 17th, “Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno released the following statement in response to the Hornepayne First Nation election dispute where Mr. Kocsis and a following of people refused to leave the NAN corporate office in Fort William First Nation April 8, 2015 and April 9, 2015. “At this time NAN does not recognize a Chief in Hornepayne until the unresolved leadership dispute between groups represented by Ms. Medeiros and Mr. Kocsis have been resolved.

NAN must remain neutral and cannot favour one group over the other. This will be the NAN position until there is a mutual written settlement or a final court order.”

Both parties were informed by letter February 3rd, 2015 that each First Nation has the responsibility to resolve all internal governance matters via independent mediation at the First Nation’s cost.

NAN does not agree with Mr. Kocsis’ disruptive tactics and was disappointed when Mr. Kocsis refused to attend a meeting organized by the NAN Executive Council for 4pm on April 8 to discuss the issue. NAN staff have been intimidated and work processes have been effected by the occupation.

The issue will now move to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Thunder Bay on May 26th 2015.

Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Head Office on Fort William First Nation

Previous Coverage:

April 9 2015 – Hornepayne First Nation Elders Hold Vigil at NAN Offices

April 17 2015 – Hornepayne Elders Continue to Seek Meeting With NAN


Fort William First Nation turns to Guardian Angels for help

The volunteer foot soldiers known as the Guardian Angels continue to work on establishing a chapter in the city of Thunder Bay to help with public safety. (Guardian Angels Canada/Facebook)

The volunteer foot soldiers known as the Guardian Angels continue to work on establishing a chapter in the city of Thunder Bay to help with public safety. (Guardian Angels Canada/Facebook)

CBC News

The chief of the Fort William First Nation says the timing could not be better to welcome the Guardian Angels to her community.

Georjann Morriseau said she was receptive when local chapter head Ian Hodgkinson reached out to her a few months back.

The volunteer foot soldiers made their name in New York City close to 30 years ago but haven’t been received warmly everywhere they go, with critics questioning their effectiveness in reducing crime and accusing them of vigilantism.

According to information on the group’s website, there are now more than 130 Guardian Angels safety patrol chapters throughout the world, with constant additions being made. They say they promote public safety through a variety of violence prevention programs.

Morriseau said she and Hodgkinson met this week and agreed to work on setting up a Guardian Angels chapter on the First Nation.


Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

“Ian and I shared a lot of the same values and the same concerns,” she said.

“At the end of it, it was ‘we want to come to the community and make it a safer environment for everybody.’ And we will make sure we do whatever we can to make sure that happens.”

Looking for more support

Hodgkinson met with Thunder Bay Police Chief JP Levesque last month, when he outlined his role representing the Guardian Angels. Police issued a press release afterwards, saying “before a chapter is set up in Thunder Bay, local police want to ensure the organization has high ethical and legal standards. It is important that any volunteer organization ensure that members are screened regarding their background.”

Morriseau said her community needs additional support to battle threats to children posed by drugs, alcohol abuse, gangs and the sex industry.

She said Hodgkinson has been invited to present his plans for a Guardian Angels chapter to the Fort William First Nation band council.

“The Guardian Angels and Ian came in at such perfect timing because we are now at that point where we want to see action,” she said.

“We, as a leadership of Fort William First Nation and the community, want to start protecting our community and protecting our children and our families.”

First Nation wants ‘to take action’

Hodgkinson said Chief Morriseau identified several concerns on the First Nation he feels the Guardians can help address.

“There is a drug problem that exists — alcohol use and abuse.

[There is a feeling of] not being accepted [and] not having the opportunity to study,” he said.

Ian Hodgkinson

Guardian Angels chapter leader Ian Hodgkinson says his group wants to “get over the problem of segregation that has existed in Thunder Bay.” (Guardian Angels Canada/Facebook)

“Those are the kinds of things that are on the table. That’s where I think we are going to go right now, at least with the youth.”

Morriseau said bringing the Guardians on board will go a long way in helping the First Nations’ youth.

“The youth want to take action,” she said.

“We are behind them 100 per cent, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: drug-dealing, gangs, violence, and sex offenders have no room in our community and no room in our lives.”

Hodgkinson said the Guardian Angels also continue to work on establishing a chapter in the city of Thunder Bay.

He said Mayor Keith Hobbs is the first Canadian politician in the Guardian Angels’ 35-year history to support their activities.

“One of our goals was to get over the problem of segregation that has existed here in Thunder Bay since I was born,” he said.

“I have the idea to have as many aboriginal youth involved in the guardian Angels program. I think exclusion is one of the big problems here.”

Hodgkinson, who hails from Thunder Bay, is also known as the professional wrestler Vampiro.