SHANNEN’S DREAM FIGHT COMES TO PARLIAMENT: First Nations schools receive less than provincial systems; NDP motion calls for Equal Funding

Shannen Koostachin told the government she would never give up in her fight for equal school rights for First Nation children. Now, nearly 2 years after her tragic death, the New Democrats are following through on Shannen’s Dream of equal education. Today in the House of Commons, they will debate the “Shannen’s Dream” motion calling on the government to close the funding gap between what First Nation schools receive and what provincial school systems receive.  

First Nations students are living as second-class citizens,” said New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel. “There’s simply no excuse for why First Nations students receive less from the government than everyone else. Stephen Harper is selling their futures short.” 

Turmel pointed out that the graduation rates of First Nations students is nearly half that of other students, and cited poorly funded schools on reserves as a major cause. The Harper Conservatives maintain a punitive 2 per cent funding cap on First Nations education. 

It’s unacceptable that, in a country as wealthy as Canada, First Nations children can’t even get the kind of quality education that other students take for granted.” 

Charlie Angus has been helping lead the fight for equal school rights for years. He knew Shannen personally.  

Shannen taught me to see the issue through a child’s eyes. When you realize that children only have one childhood you realize it is too precious to be squandered through bureaucratic and institutional laziness. Shannen has become a symbol for children across Canada. It’s time Parliamentarians did the right thing for all the children suffering from squalid and sub-standard education on reserves.”