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Indigenous activist Nakuset inducted into human rights walkway

At Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park in Cote Saint-Luc, there is a pathway lined with commemorative plaques honouring men and women who devoted their lives to human rights.

The newest inductee is Nakuset, who has spent her career advocating for Indigenous people experiencing homelessness through the Native Women's Shelter and Resilience Montreal.

"It's a huge honour," said Nakuset at the ceremony Wednesday. "There's still a huge weight on my shoulders though for the work that I need to do, and I'm really doing an outcry because homelessness is at (…) a record high right now."

"I need help with what I need to do... I literally need about $6 million in order to create a new wellness centre for the homeless. It is an idea that doesn't exist. We're going to create that," she continued.

As a child, Nakuset was one of approximately 20,000 Indigenous youth put up for adoption by youth protection in what later became known as the Sixties Scoop.

She was adopted by a Jewish family in Montreal and says it was her grandmother, or bubby, who taught her to believe in herself.

"My bubby used to tell me, you're going to do great things, and I used to say, no bubby, I'm going to go to jail. That's what I'm going to do. I had zero belief in myself, but she gave me little kernels of hope."

It's an inspiring message for the students who were on hand for the ceremony.

"It's really nice to see another woman do that, and honestly, it gives other young people like me and like my friends feel like we could also make a difference like her," said Charlotte Magonet.

"The fact that she created her own organization and that she helps many Indigenous women and communities find themselves is extremely inspiring," said Rebecca Rokhmanko, another student.

Nakuset's plaque sits alongside the names of Nelson Mandela, Viola Desmond and her own role model, Mary Two-Axe Earley, who fought for gender equality under the Indian Act.

"When I met Mary, I was like, I want be like you. I want to fight like you. I want to change a law .. I haven't yet ... I still have time," said Nakuset.

On a day to honour her achievements so far, Nakuset's focus remains on the work still left to do. Top Stories

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