Shannen’s dream

Importance of Education?!?!

Tonight, well…for the past few nights I have been thinking about what I should say or how I should say something to a group of people. The group of people are youth. The topic is the importance of education.

What is different about this group of youth is that they are Aboriginal youth. Well, you might think, “Yeah, well they are still youth. Youth are youth and they never really do anything unless they want to.” No, youth want to do things… like dream, have goals, and be happy.

For this group of youth, I don’t think I will have to motivate them because if they are at this gathering they already have the motivation to be THERE! And they have a desire to do different than what most expected from them–most being some Canadians and them being Aboriginals.

Yes, some Canadians hate Aboriginals. Racism still exist. Stereotypes still exist. Prejudice still exist. I grew up with it and I still witness it and am sometimes directly affected by someone’s racist actions and words.

Heck, even someone said I was “ignorant” for one of my posts titled “Stuff White People Like Do”. Ironically enough, it was a white person who was telling me this. Perhaps he missed the point of the overall post and only focused on one point rather than the whole message.

Anywho, I came across this opinion piece titled Why Aboriginal Education is Our Business in the Globe and Mail.

I like how this piece tells its readers that education “inspires young people.” My belief is that if a youth can dream, a youth can be inspired.

But how do you tell Aboriginal youth the importance of education, when some of them don’t even have a school to attend. Just take a look at Shannen’s Dream.

And how do you tell Aboriginal youth the importance of education, when as Urban Native Girl posted on her Facebook page,

‎”Only 8% of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 in Canada have a university degree compared to 23% of non-Aboriginals of the same age group.”

And how do you tell Aboriginal youth, the importance of education when Aboriginal history and culture is almost completely removed from curriculum/education plans. Aboriginal people–the first peoples of Canada.

I believe my greatest challenge next week will be to inspire an entire group of Aboriginal youth the importance of education but only because Aboriginal people including Aboriginal children do not enjoy this supposed basic Canadian right. In the year 2011.

And if I can’t inspire the entire group, I shall work towards inspiring at least one.

More to come on this journey!

Immoral Discrimination

I read this article when it was first published, but did not have a chance to comment on it until now.

Please read the Toronto Star article titled Lack of Proper Schools For Natives is Immoral Discrimination Martin Says.

This article reminds me of an earlier post I had written three months ago after I read about relative depravation theory and was reminded of an incident at an old place of employment.

I wrote a short-short story titled “My Hometown.” You can read the original post HERE. I have also copied and pasted the piece I wrote below for easier reference…

After reading this article, I remember when I said to my mom something similar to what former PM Paul Martin had said, “Immoral discrimination.” I had said to my mom commenting on the situation of school/education relating to access/attainment for Aboriginals in Canada and I told her:

This is not a Canadian issue. This isn’t even an Aboriginal issue. This is a morality issue.

Don’t you just love those moments when someone more important or more distinguished says something similar to you! It makes you feel like you are on the right track, heading in the right direction. Writing this post and remembering what I said to my mom is one of those moments: on the right track, heading in the right direction. I just hope the rest of Canada gets on it too!

Here is the original short-short story titled “My Hometown.”

My hometown

You say, my hometown is just like your hometown… except that it is not.

My hometown is a reserve. It is a First Nation. I was lucky though. My hometown was on the edges of a tiny city. I was able to go to an elementary school and high school, off my reserve yet still close to my home.

My elementary school wasn’t a part of my hometown though. It was your hometown. It was in “town” and it was “off the reserve.” My teachers called my friends “bad,” but she didn’t call your friends anything…but good. My teachers called my friends “stupid,” but she called your friends “smart.”

My high school was the same as yours. It was in the same town, and off the reserve. Except now, my teachers were better than the last. The only difference was your friends called me “stupid” and a “slut,” and your friends made fun of my friends.

My hometown is a reserve. It is not like your hometown. I was lucky though. My hometown had clean running water, not like some of the other reserves my friends were from. My friends were flown in and out of their hometown, so they could earn their education. Your friends were flown down south for family vacation. My friends didn’t try to kill themselves….but I did. My hometown is not like yours. I live on a reserve. You live in a town, a city…My hometown is not like yours.

Let’s make education equal…

This is a screen shot from an email I received today. I wanted to highlight this point exactly (see below):

Education in Canada is anything but equal. In low-income communities, 35% of students drop out of school. In Aboriginal schools on reserves, the drop-out rate is 60%

Go vote: making education equal for everyone in Canada!

Here is the direct link: Teach for Canada. If you have facebook, it is even more easier to vote!

Shannen’s Dream

This video is the plea to the Canadian government to help build a new school on a First Nation where the original school had been ruined because of thousands of diesel fuel that contaminated the ground. The government helped out by putting in “temporary portable trailers.” Or until a new one could be built. This is Shannen’s dream: a school for her community. For more information about this movement go directly to this link: Shannen’s Dream.

It is sad that in a First World Country, some children are still receiving education or lack there of in close below what the rest of the country receives.

There are plenty of videos that show the support for Shannen’s dream. Just makes me wonder where is the support that is truly needed: Canadian government support.

Let’s hope Shannen’s dream becomes a reality.

As the video reads “Hope you’ll remember us. Please don’t forget us.”

Canada… let’s “hope” you don’t “forget” about your future generation.

Check out the Toronto Star’s article on Shannen’s dream HERE.

Check out Shannen’s dream on Facebook HERE.

Canada & State of Emergency

Warning: This post might anger some.

Here are other posts that I previously written about State of Emergencies occurring in Canada at various times and in various regions:

Thanks to a friend on facebook, I came across this link: Pikangikum Declares a State of Emergency. This is due to drinking water. Water is being flown in. Can you believe that! In Canada, water is being flown to people, and pending weather conditions.

To me this is outrageous. It is even more outrageous that this type of thing has gone on for years. It is even more outrageous that it is rarely addressed in major news sources like Globe and Mail. I did a basic search from the main site google search with the key words “State of Emergency” (Simple enough, right?) and up came more than a 100 searches. Here is a screen shot of the first page only.

State of Emergency

I just have to say I am not impressed. I will tell you why I am not impressed. This past winter a state of emergency was called in Southwestern ON. They needed to rescue Canadians from a winter snow storm. Yup, rescue Canadians from a winter snow storm. A snow storm these people decided to drive in, or that they accidentally were caught in. One man died in this snow storm because he decided to abandon his car and walk in the snow storm. I don’t mean no disrespect to anyone, but really…Who drives in a snow storm? And even worse, who walks in the middle of nowhere in the snowstorm? THIS is Canada people, expect snow storms and expect to stay home because of the snow. What we shouldn’t expect is for hundreds of individuals living in Canada to go without drinking water during cold months, and for days or even weeks on end.

THAT is outrageous.

Yes, I warned you that this post might anger you…and if it has angered you because I just wrote that, then you are experiencing the anger I feel and countless other First Nations people feel across Canada because they live in “State of Emergency” almost everyday, for weeks, sometimes weeks on end (I have never experienced living in a State of Emergency, but I have met other First Nations people who have and have had friends who did live in these states… it’s not something that Canada should be proud of)

This makes me wonder where Canada’s priorities are especially after attending a Liberal party rally in London ON, where I asked Michael Ignatieff, the following question:

You mentioned internet access for all Canadians earlier, seeing that more than hundred First Nations in Canada still have water potability issues, why not drinking water for everyone?**

**You can read the full post with that question and my experiences at the rally by clicking on the full quote.

This is an important time for First Nations people to not only speak up and vote, but to also fight for change because of the current political happenings and the elections. I hope that First Nations people can fight for change beyond just voting, and make their voices heard in whichever way possible.

This is why I started this blog, and I hope others can make their voices heard in a similarly positive way.

I encourage everyone and anyone who feels that they have a cause to be listened to and heard of to speak up.

Like I said in another post, titled Election 41 or #elxn41, if you think you are just one in one million–that is a good thing, because that is a lot of chances for someone to be thinking the same thing you are. Just speak up, or ask someone to speak up for you! Trust me, you are not alone and someone will listen…

Just look at what this one girl did: Shannen’s dream. This is an amazing story, yet so sad that the girl’s life ended early… It is great to see that her fight for her community lives on–it is sad that her community had experienced this (both the school and the loss of a strong, young Aboriginal female).

But always remember people, this post and its information shared here are happening TODAY and in Canada… this isn’t 10, 20, 50, 100 years ago.

This is today, and it needs to change!