Toronto – January 22, 2014 – UFCW Canada and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) have come together to produce a new video in support of the Shannen’s Dream campaign to bring equitable education to First Nations children. UFCW Canada and FNCFS are long-time community allies and recently signed a Mutual Support Agreement to accelerate their combined efforts to raise awareness about the inequity faced by First Nations children.
The Shannen’s Dream campaign is named after Shannen Koostachin, a youth activist who first became the voice for First Nations children living in the Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario. Facing bitterly cold conditions while attending school in decaying, overcrowded portable classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade 8, Shannen became acutely aware of the injustice she and her fellow students faced in trying to get an education caused directly by the federal government's discriminatory underfunding of schools on reserves. First Nations schools receive $3,000 less a year per student than off-reserve schools. Severe overcrowding and a lack of supplies is shamefully the norm. Only 8 new schools have been built since 2006, while literally hundreds of other schools on-reserve need major repair or replacement.
In 2008, Shannen became a driving force in raising national awareness about the appalling conditions at her school and at many other First Nations schools across the country. Shannen tragically died in a car accident in 2010, but her call lives on through the Shannen's Dream campaign — and now through a new video produced with the support of UFCW Canada.
"We will continue to stand with our FNCCFS partners to press for equal education access for First Nations children," says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema. "Shannen Koostachin's dream must become real. The federal government's discrimination against First Nations schools must end."
Find out more on about UFCW Canada's ongoing campaigns with the FNCFCS including I AM A WITNESS, JORDAN’S PRINCIPLE AND OUR DREAMS MATTER TOO, or contact the UFCW Canada Human Rights, Equity and Diversity department at firstname.lastname@example.org.