Social Justice Stories

building compassion, tolerance, and responsible citizenship through social justice narratives

Shannen Koostachin

Shannen was a young woman who was passionate about teaching others the central importance of humility and respect in her culture, which helped to sustain her belief that efforts of the children in her community could make a difference. This confidence sustained Shannen's ability to speak with clarity, highlighting her community's anger that the First Nations children of Attawapiskat were being ignored and the government was refusing to grant them the same rights as other Canadian students who were each entitled to a safe school.

Serena Koostachin

The first to go to Ottawa to lobby the government for a new school, Shannen's older sister was an inspiration, always offering advice and guidance to her younger sibling.


Shannen and Serena's great grandmother who took pride in teaching her grandchildren about their heritage and culture.

Andrew and Jenny Koostachin

Shannen and Serena's parents were well liked and leaders in their community. Andrew taught his children to stand up to injustice, always instilling a sense of pride in their culture.

Charlie Angus

The Member of Parliament for Attawapiskat who supported Shannen and her classmates in their efforts to draw attention to their fight for a new school, introducing a motion in the Canadian Parliament called "Shannen's Dream" to address the underfunding of First Nations school system.


The grade eight student chosen by Shannen to take over her role as the voice of their campaign, also speaking about additional problems in the community such as the failing sewer system and their concern about the toxic chemicals released when the old school building was demolished.

Carinna Pellett

Shannen's grade eight teacher who fully supported her students, helping them mount their campaign to lobby the government for a new school.