After several years of volunteer work and dedication, Rick Miller (documentary filmmaker) and I installed the Shannen Koostachin Monument in New Liskeard, in northern Ontario. We made our DREAM a REALITY with the support of friends and family!
Mee'kwetch to everyone who supported us during our campaigning - We changed the Canadian landscape with an important tribute to the last Shannen Koostachin.
Shannen spoke to thousands of people asking for their help to ensure every child got a good education and a “comfy” school. She was an inspiring speaker because she talked from the heart. She made a compelling speech at an education rights conference hosted by the children of Attawapiskat and attended by 500 other children at the University of Toronto in 2009. Shannen’s incredible leadership was remarkable and she was nominated, as an ambassador for all the children of Attawapiskat, for the International Children’s Peace Prize given out by the Nobel Laureates. In 2009, Minister Strahl promised the children of Attawapiskat a new school.
In May of 2010, Shannnen Koostachin passed away in an automobile accident. With the support of her loving family, friends and community, Shannen’s Dream is a campaign named in her memory to make sure all First Nations children across Canada have “safe and comfy schools” and receive a good quality education that makes them proud of who they are.
When I hear the name Shannen Koostachin I instantaneously think of dire ‘living-learning’ conditions of Attawapiskat’s First Nation children and youth. More extensively, I’m also aware of the fact there are many more communities across Northern Ontario that are challenged with similar or worse off socio-economic conditions. So, it’s fair to say, this project is just as much the plight of all First Nation children today as it was yesterday. As with all monument projects, this one serves many purposes. For some, it's a placeholder away from home, for others, a beacon of light indicating a way forward and that, to me, is the message I bring as a collaborative designer to this project. The need to sustain Shannen’s transformational message of hope!
- Cultural Advisor, Kenneth Chakasim
My hope for this sculpture is that it will help aboriginal youth see their own reflection in Shannen’s heroic face, and realize that they can, and that they must, carry on with her vision.
- Sculptor Tyler Fauvelle
My message is to never give up. You get up, pick up your books and keep walking in your moccasins.
- Shannen Koostachin