Shannen's Dream - Timeline and Documents

We try our best to provide information in both English and French. Unfortunately, French resources are not always available and we will provide them in English. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  • December 7, 2010

    Minister Chuck Strahl promises a new school for Attawapiskat First Nation in the House of Commons.

  • November 17, 2010

    Shannen’s Dream is launched by children from Attawapiskat First Nation. The Canadian Coalition for Human Rights makes a special presentation of an award recognizing Shannen’s work advancing the education rights of children. Watch a video on Shannen’s Dream.

  • June 2010

    At the age of 15, Shannen dies tragically in a car accident while attending school away from home. 

  • December 8, 2009

    Minister Chuck Strahl announces to First Nations chiefs that negotiations for a new school would begin immediately.

  • May 25, 2009

    Parliamentary Budget Officer releases report on First Nations schools. Read the report.

  • February 2009

    First Nations Education Council releases Background paper on First Nations Education Funding. Read the report.

  • 2009

    School is demolished and toxic debris is dumped one kilometer away from Attawapiskat homes.

    The Attawapiskat First Nation Education Authority creates a pamphlet outlining the History of the J.R. Nakogee Elementary School, with a timeline. 

  • June 11, 2008

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes for the Government of Canada’s role in the residential school system to which over 150 000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit were sent against their will and consent of their families. There are approximately three times as many First Nations children in care than during the height of the residential schools era, and receive $2000-3000 less per child in education funding. Watch a video of the apology. 

  • May 2008

    Shannen met with Minister Chuck Strahl to ask for a new school. The minister said the Government of Canada could not afford it. Shannen then does a presentation on the steps of the House of Commons saying she "will never give up" until every First Nations child has a proper education. This is the picture featured on the Shannen's Dream poster.

  • April 1, 2008

    The Attawapiskat First Nation is told that the school is not in the Long Term Five-Year Capital Plan due to other priorities, and that Minister Chuck Strahl does not have the authority to provide a guarantee for infrastructure projects.

  • November 13, 2007

    Attempts to spread the cost for the school over a number of years are rejected by INAC. INAC maintains publicly that there are no risks to the health and safety of the students. At this time, INAC was aware that the portables were overcrowded and in need of extensive repair. Read the documents obtained through Access to Information requests.

  • September 26, 2007

    The School Planning Capital Study is completed, and the Attawapiskat First Nation seeks a Ministerial Guarantee on a $30 million bank loan to build the school.

  • June 30, 2007

    Minister Jim Prentice approves plans to build the new school, but does not deliver on this commitment.

  • February 23, 2007

    Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (Caring Society) file complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) alleging that Canada is racially discriminating against First Nations children by providing less child welfare funding, and thus benefit, on reserves. Read the complaint.

  • 2006-2007

    INAC builds an addition to the secondary school.

  • 2006

    Attawapiskat begins to prepare a School Capital Planning Study with funding from INAC.

  • 2005

    Minister Andy Scott promises to build a new school but nothing is done.

  • 2004

    The Auditor General of Canada releases a report on First Nations education, noting that limited progress had been made on the recommendations outlined in the previous report in 2000. Read the report.

  • 2000 - 2001

    INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) erects 14 portable classrooms to be used as “temporary” classrooms between the contaminated property of the former school and an airstrip. These portables were still being up until 2014 and were in unacceptable condition.

  • May 11, 2000

    The Attawapiskat First Nation Education Authority closes the elementary school due to health and safety concerns related to fuel contamination.

  • April 2000

    The Auditor General of Canada releases a report on First Nations education. The report raises concerns over the wide gap in First Nations education, and provides recommendations to the Government of Canada. Read the report.

  • January 2000

    Additional environmental consultants assess the property and recommend “Class 1, Action Required.” In addition to the contamination related to the fuel spillage, five species of mould were found.

  • 2000

    Minister Robert Nault promises to build a new school but nothing is done.

  • 1997

    With approval from INAC, a partial clean-up of the contaminated soil on the school property was completed.

  • 1996

    Report on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) is published. The report notes that funding is “basic” for on-reserve education, and regulations permit little, if any, leeway for culture-based curriculum. Read the Volume 3 Chapter 5 of the RCAP report.