When Christopher Sanford Beck was asked to imagine a future where Canadian society had reconciled with indigenous people, he got straight to work.
Sanford Beck is one of ten winners of the Imagine a Canada contest sponsored by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The contest chose ten students from Grades 1-12 from across the country who submitted works of art, poetry, film, video or traditional essays to "envision what the future of Canada will look like through the lens of reconciliation."
The contest's winners travelled to Ottawa and will meet with Governor General David Johnston.
The 15-year-old's short story details a white farming family travelling to a cultural celebration on a local reserve.
"I just wanted to provide a bit of a snapshot into what Canada's future could look like if it follows a path of truth and reconciliation," he said. "And how that can affect normal people, and what people can do."
Sanford Beck now lives on a remote farmyard roughly 200 kilometres north-west of Saskatoon, but grew up in the city's Riversdale neighbourhood, surrounded by First Nations teaching and culture.
"I think it should be important for everybody who lives in Canada," he said. "Obviously we have a very bloody history, and a very bad one. It's up to everybody to heal that, and it's really everybody's business."
Still, the teen writer remains hopeful.
"I am optimistic," he said. "Every year we're getting closer to a future where that will be the reality. I'm very optimistic."
For a link to the short story, click here.