Our Dreams Matter Too
On the fourth anniversary of the federal governments’ official apology to the former students of Indian residential schools, KAIROS joined over 500 elementary school students who walked from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill today to call for culturally based equity for First Nations children. Organized by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the walk featured speakers from six schools, as well as children from the Kitigan Zibi First Nation school north of Ottawa.
Led by drummers and dancers from Kitigan Zibi, the students chanted “Equal education, for First Nations!” alongside representatives of dozens of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations, including Ottawa-area churches. When the marchers reached the Supreme Court building they were greeted by the bells of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, which opened its doors to those needing a rest.
On Parliament Hill, the students were welcomed by Algonquin Elder Alvin Tolley, a residential school survivor, who thanked everyone for supporting equal rights for First Nations children. After more inspired and inspiring messages from young people – including Wes Prankard, a 13 year old boy who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for First Nations schools in Ontario – the children delivered their letters to Prime Minister Harper; letters calling for an end to discrimination against First Nation students.