‘I want to be treated like other kids in Canada’

CBC Kids News
Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2018-09-18 15:52

Fed up with closed school, Indigenous kids bring protest to Ottawa

A group of kids from Kashechewan First nation in northern Ontario are hoping their protest in Canada’s capital city this week means they get to go back to school soon.

They haven’t been able to go to class even once in September.

That’s because the local government decided the portables the kids have been using as classrooms for the past 10 years were mouldy and unsafe.

Two busloads of kids from the Cree community travelled to Ottawa on Monday to make speeches and wave colourful signs.

They want the Canadian government to build them a new school.

Arthur Koosees, 13, said he’s attended school in southern Canada, and there’s no comparison.

He said the Kashechewan school is not a proper school.

“I want to be treated like other kids in Canada,” said Curtis Koostachin, 11, as he stood on the steps of Parliament Hill.

Jared Wesley said he travelled all the way to Ottawa to get his message out.

“We are from Canada, too,” said 11-year-old Priscilla Wesley when it was her turn at the microphone.

After the kids spoke, Jane Philpott, the Canadian politician in charge of making sure Indigenous people have access to the services they need, spoke to the crowd.

The Indigenous services minister said she would work with community members “to make sure that you have the very best possible school to go to.”

While they're waiting, the 400 elementary students will move into the community's high school.

It only has 12 classrooms and is already used by 200 students.

Kids stand with cardboard signs with red writing. One says

Many kids in Kashechewan say they’re tired of using mouldy portables as classrooms. (CBC)

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