Thunder Bay’s Indigenous guardians volunteer to protect their community | Warrior Publications: by Joe Friesen and Patrick White, The Globe and Mail, June 16, 2017
A man lies sprawled on his back near the riverbank, his eyes closed, his arms extended at his sides. He appears to be unconscious, just a few metres from the McIntyre River in Thunder Bay.
A short distance away, four men in bright orange vests scour the riverbank on foot. They move quickly, casting their flashlights in the reeds and stooping to look under bridges.
They are the Bear Clan Patrol, a group of Indigenous volunteers who recently began to patrol the city a few nights a week. They are looking for signs of trouble – in particular among those who drink by the river.
This is the danger that preoccupies the city of Thunder Bay, where seven Indigenous high-school students have been found dead in the water since 2000. Last month, the bodies of 17-year-old Tammy Keeash and 14-year-old Josiah Begg were found over a 12-day period in the city’s waterways. In response, local Indigenous leaders created the Bear Clan Patrol.
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