A First Nation that only seems to get the spotlight when bad things happen is once again in the headlines: Shamattawa. Literally left devastated last week after a major fire destroyed key services and infrastructure—including the reserve's only grocery store—it's all the more worrisome when you consider the northeastern Manitoba community is only accessible by plane or boat most of the year. Then there's the disturbing cause of the blaze: according to the RCMP, it was started by a group of children, most of whom aren't even 12 years old.
Shamattawa's high rates of poverty, unemployment, substance abuse and youth suicide are well-documented by news outlets. Less so are the efforts of its people to reverse these trends. Among the more determined is this week's guest: Michael Redhead Champagne, founder of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities in Winnipeg.