A six-year-old Nuu-chah-nulth boy is being remembered for his big, beautiful smile as details about his sudden passing remain sparse.
The child, who had family connections in both Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nation communities, died March 13 in a Port Alberni home, leading to the closure of his school and statements of grief and support for his family from the community.
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council released a statement that it is deeply saddened to hear the news.
“We are told that this young child had a big, beautiful smile, and that he touched many lives – his loss will deeply affect many,” reads the statement. “We support the family in their request for privacy from the media and the general public, as they grieve the loss of their loved one. We ask others to do the same.”
A statement was also issued by Haahuupayak Elementary School, where the child was a student, on March 14.
“The school is heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of its own students this week. It is no easy thing to lose one of our own. As a sign of respect to his family and to honour the grieving process for all his loved ones, including staff and students, the school will be closed for the remainder of the week leading into Spring Break. We extend our sincere condolences to the parents, family, friends and community members during this tragic time.”
The school said staff will not be available for comment during this “deeply personal time.”
“We support the family in their request for privacy from the media and the general public, as they grieve the terrible loss of their child,” reads the statement.
The RCMP and BC Coroners Service have confirmed they are investigating the death but have yet to release any details about its circumstances.
Port Alberni RCMP responded to a call on March 13 at about 9:30 a.m after receiving a report of a young child in medical distress at a Port Alberni residence. The child was transported to hospital and did not survive.