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The Shingwauk Project

The Shingwauk Project is a cross-cultural research and educational development project of Algoma University and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA). It was founded in 1979 by founding director, Professor Don Jackson, in collaboration with Dr. Lloyd Bannerman of AUC, Chief Ron Boissoneau (1935-2000) of Garden River, Shingwauk Alumnus and Elder Dr. Dan Pine Sr. (1900-1992) of Garden River, and other former Shingwauk and Wawanosh students and friends who recognized the profound importance of the commitment to the Shingwauk Trust and the relationship with Canada’s First Nations that Algoma University assumed upon its relocation in 1971 to the site of the former Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools.

The Shingwauk School, or “Teaching Wigwam”, was originally envisaged by the great Ojibway Chief Shingwaukonse (1773-1854), also known as Shingwauk, as a crucible for cross-cultural understanding and for synthesis of traditional Anishnabek and modern European knowledge and learning systems. Commissioned in 1832 in co-operation with Canadian Government and Anglican Church partners as part of St. John’s Mission to the Ojibway, the Shingwauk School was opened in Sault Ste. Marie in 1833. It relocated to Garden River (1838-74), and to the current site as the Shingwauk and Wawanosh Industrial Homes (Shingwauk 1874-1935 and Wawanosh 1876/96-1935) and the Shingwauk Indian Residential School (1935-70). As part of Chief Shingwauk’s new strategy of Aboriginal rights, selfdetermination and modern community development, the School’s cross-cultural educational project was also regarded as essential to the restoration of cosmological balance and of social harmony between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, and between both Peoples and the natural environment.

Inspired by Shingwauk’s Vision, the Shingwauk Project, the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA – former students of the Shingwauk and Wawanosh Schools, and staff, descendants, families and friends) and the National Residential School Survivors’ Society(NRSSS - former Indian, Inuit and Metis Residential School students from across Canada) are partnered with Algoma University, the Anglican Church, the Shingwauk Education Trust (SET), the Dan Pine Healing Lodge, and others to: research, collect, preserve and display the history of the Residential Schools; develop and deliver projects of “sharing, healing and learning” in relation to the impacts of the Schools, and of individual and community cultural restoration; and accomplish “the true realization of Chief Shingwauk’s Vision”. In 2006, Algoma University College signed the Shingwauk Covenant with Shingwauk Education Trust further cementing this commitment. In 2008, Algoma University College received its University Charter with the special mission of cross-cultural Aboriginal education and research, in keeping with the history of the site. Through their partnership, the CSAA, NRSSS and Algoma University have established the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) which co-ordinates, catalogues, stores and displays the Residential School artefacts, photographs, documents and resources donated and collected.

The Shingwauk Project and the CSAA have undertaken many activities since 1979 including reunions, healing circles, publications, videos, photo displays, curriculum development, historical tours and the establishment of archive, library and heritage collections, as well as this website. Since the establishment of NRSSS in 2004 these activities have been broadened to serve Residential School Survivors, Alumni and Canadians nationally. Their joint “Remember the Children: National Residential Schools Photo Identification Project” continues to be one of the most welcomed and appreciated initiatives of the Residential School Centre. Over many years and in many ways the Project and the Centre have been generously supported by Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments, churches, non-governmental organizations and individuals. All involved are most grateful for the understanding and kindness that have made this small part of our larger national journey of “sharing, healing and learning” possible.