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A Birthday Wish
Yes, today is my birthday. I am not looking for happy birthday wishes – but for those who are aware of who Shannen Koostachin was, today they/we are celebrating her short but most meaningful life. Shannen was a young girl from the community of Attawapiskat, Ontario.
She, like many other Native American children attended her years of public school in portables – actual buildings are not always available on Native Reserves (for many, many reasons). You can see those portables if you care in my article titled “No school for the forgotten children of Attawapiskat, Ontario”. When she entered high-school, Shannen began her fight for an actual public school building. She started it all on her own: on social websites at first. Nobody realized the momentum that Shannen added to the issue of educational needs on Native Reserves, until she ended-up on Parliament Hill talking to politicians. She dreamed of every Aboriginal child to have a public school to go to. For just a high-school student, I think that is fantastic. She was a role model for everyone.
Yet, her life was cut short by a tragic car accident. Her dream though, of every Native child to have a public school building to attend to remains: it is Shannen’s Dream (http://www.fncfcs.com/shannensdream). Shannen can no longer put-up a fight for her community but her father, Mr. Andrew whom I had the pleasure to briefly meet, has continued her work. Her sisters as well and many, many other people have gotten involved now in order to fix the educational problems which many aboriginal children face in Canada.
So, my wish on my birthday and on the day of Shannen’s Memorial (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=101006113281570) is for every child not only in Canada but in the whole world, to have the possibility to go to school and achieve a level of education that can be helpful to them at a later time.
Shannen lives through many people, including myself. I often think of her and today: it is her day.