Student-led letter campaign calls on feds to address equality for Indigenous
Even though he did a project on residential schools just a few months ago, grade six Catholic school student Angelo Lucier was still shaken by the discovery of unmarked graves containing Indigenous children in Kamloops, B.C.
“I just viewed myself in that situation,” said the student at St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual Elementary School. “It was just heartbreaking, like, what these people have been going through. These residential schools only closed 25 years ago.”
So, not content with displays of sorrow and solidarity by adults, Lucier embarked on his own campaign. He wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and encouraged his friends and peers to do the same. It calls on the federal government to address what he calls the “shortcomings” of our government in its treatment of the Indigenous.
“The Indian Act — basically, the government can control everything that the Indigenous people do. Horrible living conditions. They don’t even have fresh water in a country that has the most,” he said.
Despite a campaign promise by Trudeau to provide First Nations across the country with clean drinking water, many still don’t.
Lucier also thinks it’s time Ottawa enshrined the International Declaration of Indigenous Rights into law.
So far, Lucier has collected 50 letters, but his goal is to send 215, one for each child found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“It’s the students that are the future leaders of tomorrow. One of these kids in Windsor-Essex County might be in Justin Trudeau’s spot one day,” he said. “I heard about Orange Shirt Day, putting shoes on the church’s porch, putting teddy bears on your porch. Those are all things that adults did. But kids, they haven’t really done that much.”
Any child that wants to help Lucier reach his goal can email a letter for the Prime Minister and Essex MP Chris Lewis to email@example.com.