Shannen's Dream

In the spotlight:

School is a time for dreams, every kid deserves this - Shannen Koostachin

Every child in Canada has the right to a proper education - including safe and comfy schools, quality education, and education that suits their individual and collective needs. Because First Nations education is funded less, First Nations young people do not have the same opportunities as all other children in the country. 


Shannen's Dream, named in loving memory of Shannen Koostachin, is about making sure that First Nations children and youth have the same education opportunities as others but in ways that respect their language and culture and takes into account that they may not be starting from the same place. Shannen Koostachin, her classmates, and their community of Attawapiskat fought for a new school for over three decades after a diesel spill near the school that was making students and teachers sick. Shannen sadly passed away in 2010 and never saw the new school that was built in 2014. With the support of her loving family, friends and community, Shannen’s Dream was named in her honour because Shannen believed that all children deserved to go to a good school. Learn more about Shannen and Attawapiskat


The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls on Canada to provide culturally-based education for First Nations children, and calls on all of us to learn more about Indigenous peoples in Canada as a starting place for the important work of reconciliation. For ideas on how to bring reconciliation into your classroom, participate in Events to Make a Difference and find out more about Spirit Bear!

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Provincial and territorial education laws apply on and off reserves but the federal government is supposed to pay for education on reserves. If the federal government provides less money for schools and education, then the provincial or territorial legislative governments typically do not top it up. This means First Nations children and youth across Canada get inequitable education just because they are First Nations and living on a reserve. 


Shannen's Dream serves as a reminder to continue hold the federal government accountable to honour their promise for safe and comfy schools for all First Nations children and youth.