ATTAWAPISKAT – “We have had our voices heard, and we made some of the members teary-eyed,” states Chelsea Edwards. Youth delegate Edwards is in Geneva Switzerland where earlier today she was before a United Nations Committee as part of a delegation of six youth from First Nations across Canada, sharing a message of hope, and how Canada’s education system should be equal for all.
Edwards is carrying on for her best friend Shannen Koostachin, and Shannen’s Dream.
Via the Internet, Edwards has been able to keep family and friends back home up to date on the trip and the meeting. “They’ve heard our voices. I swear we’ve made one of the members of the committee tear up. We know the message ‘No child should ever have to beg for equal rights”, shares Chelsea.
“We’ll keep on keeping on,” added Edwards. “We have had our voices heard, and we made some of the members teary-eyed. I’m very honored and blessed to walk this journey with amazing ambassadors and partners. Thank you for this day.”
“It sure was emotional when it came to talking about Shannen. I was even asked so many questions in the field of education. I’m sure that the government is in shit, because we’ve spoke the truth. And you should have saw their faces when we’ve told them everything!”
“I do hope that the Federal government acts and delivers on their signed commitments”.
“Special thanks to Harper and Duncan, for making us realize that we have a very strong voice,” continues Edwards. “Thank you for being a barrier, because we wouldn’t know how to address these issues. And thank you so much, for showing us WHAT NOT TO DO”.
To all those following her on her journey, Edwards says, “Again, so honoured and I love you all. I love my people. Meaning, everyone because there’s only one race; humanity”.
Cindy Blackstock, from First Nations Child and Caring Society, who has helped with the journey said, “An ambassador brings the message and spirits of their peoples to others and acts in ways that honors their communities and ancestors. Chelsea Jane Edwards, Colin Starblanket, Helen Knott, Kendall Melissa White, Madelyn Slade and John Paul Charlykoff brought great honor to all of us today. They are the type of leaders that light candles of hope in darkness and in bureaucratic places and inspire us all to reach for the best in ourselves. Any adults who want to know what dignity, courage, humilty and eloquence looks like – should meet these young people and learn from their example”.
The six First Nations youth ambassadors from across Canada met with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), a group that monitors Canada’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, on February 6, 2012 in Geneva. The youth are asking the UNCRC to pressure the Canadian Government to end the inequities in First Nations education, health, child welfare, and culture and language programs. The goal is to ensure that First Nations children get the same chance as other Canadian children to grow up safely at home, go to good schools, be healthy and proud of who they are.