AMC FNFAO Extends Condolences to the Family of the Toddler Who Tragically Drowned in Portage la Prairie Retention Pond and Urges a Thorough Investigation

June 29, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

TRIGGER WARNING: This media release contains sensitive information about the death of a child. Mental health counselling and crisis support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat.

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs – First Nations Family Advocate Office (AMC-FNFAO) is deeply saddened by the tragic incident involving a toddler who drowned in a retention pond in Portage la Prairie while under the care of a Child and Family Services (CFS) agency. Our thoughts and prayers are with the grieving family during this incredibly difficult time.
While we mourn the loss of this precious young life, we also recognize the urgent need for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. It is essential that we understand the factors that led to this heartbreaking incident and determine whether there were any failures within the child welfare system or other contributing factors.

“Regrettably, it has been observed that in cases where there is a loss of life of children in care, there is often a tendency to quickly deem such incidents as accidental without conducting a comprehensive investigation,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “We must ensure that the child welfare system is accountable and effective in their duty to protect and care for First Nations children.”

The AMC-FNFAO is dedicated to advocating for the rights and well-being of First Nations children throughout Turtle Island. We persistently strive to ensure families receive the support and answers related to tragedies like this.

“Protecting and caring for our most vulnerable children is a collective responsibility we all share,” said Director of Children and Families, First Nations Family Advocate Office, Kayla Frank. “FNFAO expresses our deepest condolences to the family and community following the tragic loss of a child. In this time of profound grief, we also recognize the urgent need for advocacy within the child welfare system and actively work towards addressing systemic challenges that contribute to such heart-wrenching incidents.”


For more information, please contact:
Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho/Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.