Ten years ago today, Cree youth leader Shannen Koostachin was killed in a horrific car accident. She was only 15 years old, yet in her short life she became the voice of a generation of first nation youth who were no longer willing to put up with systemic discrimination.
Shannen had never seen a real school. Children in Attawapiskat were being educated in squalid conditions. Her fight for their dignity and rights launched the largest youth-driven civil rights movement in Canadian history. At 14 she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize.
Shannen never lived to see the school that was built in her community, but her work carries on through the Shannen's Dream movement. She is a role model for youth activists across this country. A movie, two books and a statue are dedicated to her. She's been recognized as one of the 150 most influential women in Canadian history.
I had the honour to know Shannen. In fact, I think of her every single day. She truly did come from the angels, and one day she returned.