By: Christine McFarlane
This video was made in collaboration with the Shannen’s Dream campaign (shannensdream.ca) and Heartspeak. The premise behind “Shannen’s Dream” was that “for over 10 years, children and youth in her community did not have access to a comfy school environment in which to learn and grow.” At 13 years old, Shannon Koostachin launched the largest youth driven rights movement in Canada to bring awareness to the world about the lack of a school in Attawapiskat. She became a face and voice for the young children of Attawapiskat and advocated for a new school to replace the makeshift portables.
The children of Attawapiskat not only go to school in temporary constructions, erected after a diesel fuel leak contaminated the main building in 2000, but also suffer other health concerns. These concerns remain an issue in other First Nations schools on reserves as well, and include: overcrowding, black mould, high carbon dioxide levels, sewage fumes in schools, frozen pipes, unheated portables, and students from suffering from cold and frost bite.
This video addresses the dream of Shannen Koostachin for an equitable education, and how after her tragic death in 2010, her dream still lives on. After she died in a tragic car accident, this campaign was launched in honour of her national fight for all First Nations students. It shows the vision and hope she left with other youth in her community and how they still continue to fight for what she believed was the right thing for her people and community “A right to the same kind of education as any other child, living anywhere else.”
Heartspeak is an organization that supports a collaborative mentoring model for youth/students (approximate age range 12–22) within communities and schools. Heartspeak mentors with media—engaging participants in the production of video resource(s) related to healthy relationships and living. They bring awareness to critical issues across the curriculum related to social justice, safe schools, physical and mental health, the environment, human rights, and education rights-starting dialogue and encouraging action.
More people need to see this video. If you wish to obtain a copy, please visit Heartspeak’s website- http://www.heartspeak.ca
If you want to know more about Shannen's Dream or become more involved, please visit- http://www.shannensdream.ca