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Actors Duane Howard and Michelle Thrush to deliver gift-filled shoeboxes in Attawapiskat

On December 9th, 2016, actors Duane Howard and Michelle Thrush will visit the schools of Attawapiskat with I Love First Peoples, to bring hope to the youth and celebrate education.

Award-winning Blackstone actress Michelle Thrush will present two very special performances geared toward youth and their parents, entitled Majica and Find Your Inner Elder. “We are experiencing a time when healing ourselves and our families is crucial. We are all a part of this healing force and it begins with understanding that we cannot do it alone. We need each other and to build strong relationships, in our homes, in our communities and in our country,” says the Indigenous actress.

Duane Howard, best known for his role as the Native chief in The Revenant, will inspire the youth to work toward their dreams and will also give them an inside look at his life as an actor and stuntman. As a spokesperson and board member for I Love First Peoples, Howard says: “I want to see us all walking together as one family, one community. This is why I support the organization and urge all Canadians to get involved.”

I Love First Peoples will present each student with a gift-filled shoebox, lovingly packed by Canadians everywhere. “The shoeboxes help the students to know that Canadians truly do care for them, and that we all care deeply about their education. I Love First Peoples works with schools to motivate learning and celebrate academic success. The shoebox is one of many ways we tell students that we’re cheering them on,” says I Love First Peoples’ president Josée Lusignan.

Shoeboxes are still needed for the trip to Attawapiskat, as well as financial support. To find out how you can help, please visit or Shoeboxes can be packed online. In support of this initiative, Michelle Thrush has produced a video, encouraging everyone to pack a shoebox.

In June 2016, I Love First Peoples launched a celebrity-studded campaign called I Love Attawapiskat & Canada’s Indigenous Youth, to raise awareness about the hardships faced by Indigenous youth in our country. Since then, over 100 artists and athletes have lent their support and the campaign has enabled the organization to hold meaningful conversation with citizens across Canada and around the world. After the visit to Attawapiskat, the campaign name will change to reflect a broader focus as I Love First Peoples visits communities across Canada in 2017.


I Love First Peoples is a Canadian registered charity that empowers children and youth to succeed through education and the motivation to stay in school. We bridge Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through projects that support reconciliation and make it easy to get involved. Recently, I Love First Peoples spearheaded the initiative that led the Toronto Maple Leafs to honour Indigenous peoples during its November 2nd game against Edmonton.

Media enquiries

Josée Lusignan, President

I Love First Peoples

Cell: 613.668.7238

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