The Current

Remembering Shannen Koostachin and the forgotten generation of Indigenous children

Shannen Koostachin was a teenager from the troubled Northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat, who campaigned for improvements in aboriginal education until her tragic death. NDP MP Charlie Angus was her friend and has taken up her cause in his new book, Children of the Broken Treaty.
"She had become the voice and face of a forgotten generation of Indigenous children," says Charlie Angus on the late Shannen Koostachin (CP/HO- Charlie Angus, MP, Timmins - James Bay)

Shannen Koostachin was just 15-years-old in this video, speaking at the Ontario Federation of Labour Convention in 2009. She was there to raise awareness about the state of aboriginal education in communities such as Attawapiskat — the fly-in First Nation in Northern Ontario she came from. And raise awareness she did.

But just eight months after that speech, Shannen Koostachin would die, in a tragic automobile accident.

NDP MP Charlie Angus, who represents the northern riding of Timmins-James Bay was a close friend of Shannen's. 

Charlie Angus has recently written a new book about her, and her campaign for a new school in Attawapiskat. It's called "Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream."

Book Excerpt: Children of the Broken Treaty

Charlie Angus is the NDP Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs. He joined host Piya Chattopadhyay from Ottawa. 

We invited Carolyn Bennett,  Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, to talk to us about this, but she was not available today.

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.