June is National Indigenous History Month, a time for all Canadians – Indigenous, non-Indigenous and newcomers – to reflect upon and learn about the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
Butterfly Monument: A Tribute to Shannen Koostachin, directed by Jules Koostachin & Rick Miller (28:40, 2017)
Butterfly Monument documents the creation of a public memorial dedicated to the late Shannen Kooshtachin, a young Cree education advocate from Attawapiskat First Nation, Moskekowok territory. Through personal stories shared by Shannen’s immediate family we learn about who Shannen was and what motivated her passionate crusade for equitable access to education for Indigenous children and youth. The film also documents director Jules Koostachin’s efforts to lead the community campaign that made this public monument to her young relation a reality.
Shannen was a trailblazer with Canada’s largest youth-led activist group when she sadly passed away at the young age of 15. Her legacy is kept active by Shannen’s Dream, a national campaign for improved First Nations schooling. The Butterfly Monument, Canada’s first public monument honouring a Cree youth, is located on the traditional territories of Timiskaming First Nation, in the City of Temiskaming Shores, Ontario.
To learn more about Shannen’s Dream, to access the Indigenous Knowledge Portal, and to support donations, visit this link.