Mr. Speaker, I rise on this national indigenous peoples day to honour the impact of indigenous women as nurturers, protectors of the great turtle that lets us live on her back, nurturers who relentlessly seek reconciliation through social justice.
This fiery spirit was captured in the life and achievements of Shannen Koostachin of Attawapiskat First Nation. I celebrate her today and those who continue her fight.
At 13 years of age, Shannen confronted the shabby conditions of her school: the mould, the rodents, the poisoned drinking water. She said enough, and lead what became a national campaign on social and print media and in front of Parliament to pressure the federal government into building a new school in her community, and it did.
Shannen's life ended two years later in an automobile accident. She was 15, and by then she was renowned across North America as a passionate fighter for the rights of native children.
On this day, may her spirit sing in this chamber, even as it rebukes the false promises of the past. Let it instill a new resolve.