APTN National News
The small Algonquin community of Rapid Lake three hours north of Ottawa received a special visit from legendary hockey star Fred Sasakamoose.
“They need some guidance and to be able to proceed with their life and education,” said Sasakamoose. “And possibly in sports, they can take part, the world is open for them now.
This day is part of a special celebration organized by I Love First Peoples.
It’s a not for profit organization that spreads messages of encouragement, hope, and shoeboxes.
“We get some shampoo, sometimes clothes and book, pencils,” said 12-year-old Nora Pien. “ya nice stuff.”
Today’s classes are literally all fun and games.
There’s everything from sack races, hockey, basketball and soccer games.
This is the fifth year the school has participated.
“They know that something big is gonna be happening, so they look forward to the shoe box gifts,” said Kokum Shirley Odjick Tolley.
Sasakamoose shared his experience attending residential schools – and of course, the highlights from his hockey career.
He said his goal is to show kids they have all the opportunities in the world through education.
“I tried the best I could do, so I could show whats out there for them that they need, the choice is up to them to succeed in this world.”
Josee Lusignan, president of I Love First Peoples said it’s a legacy that needs to be shared.
And as a way to honour Sasakamoose, a mural is unveiled.
“We do merits and awards throughout the year to recognize academic achievments,” said Lusignan. “And we thought why not have it in schools a large mural of Fred where teachers can explain Fred’s story and where children can be recognized with their own wall of fame and put their own stars up on the wall next to Fred to celebrate their achievements.”
Canvas prints of the Sasakamoose mural will be offered to schools in Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan that work with I Love First Peoples.
Contact Annette here: [email protected]