The Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA), the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC), and partners will be hosting the fourth annual Shingwauk Gathering and Conference from July 31st until August 2nd at Algoma University. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Resilience.” Douglas Cardinal and the Honourable Justice Murrary Sinclair will deliver keynote speeches on Friday, July 31st from 2:00pm – 4:00pm.
Survivors and their families from around Ontario, including the Missanabie Cree First Nation, Chapleau First Nation, Batchewana First Nation, and Garden River First Nation will make the trek to Sault Ste. Marie and the University to continue the work of “sharing, healing, and learning.” Many First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and non-aboriginal peoples from as far north as the James Bay region, as far south as Walpole Island, and as far east as the Kanesatake and Kahnawake First Nations in Quebec will also make the trip to participate.
“Over the past 35 years since the first Shingwauk Reunion in 1981, much has happened on the Shingwauk site… We have seen many developments over that span of time, both positive and negative in nature. However, it is the positive ones that we celebrate and are perhaps the true expression of the resilience and commitment by the people of the site. We have been witness to the move from a college to a free standing university, the IRSSA and the resulting Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the recommendations that will lead to a better country for all. Yes, indeed we are very much so resilient,” said Mike Cachagee, a member of the CSSA and the National Residential Schools Survivor Society.
The CSAA and SRSC have developed a compelling line up of presentations and workshops on the theme of resilience. This year’s event will include residential school tours, discussions, exercises and workshops, as well as two keynote addresses by Douglas Cardinal and the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair on July 31st.
“The Shingwauk Gathering and Conference, now an annual event, continues the tradition of Survivor gatherings that began with the 1981 Reunion. It’s an opportunity for Survivors to continue to gather together with each other, with family, with the wider community, and now also engage in the issues in a more conference-like setting. That has allowed us to bring in a wide range of speakers and presenters over the past few years, not just to show Survivors that we’ve taken up the cause with them, but also to engage those who may be coming to these issues anew,” said Jonathan Dewar, Director of the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre.
As an architect, planner, and activist, Douglas Cardinal has dedicated his life to building communities and environments. His buildings are centred on philosophies of sustainability, and ecologically-designed architecture, but also bettering human conditions. He has been appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada, the greatest honour Canada as a nation bestows to its citizens, the Gold Medals in Architecture from the Royal Architectural Institute in Canada and the Union of Architects of Russia, honourary fellowships to the Society of American Registered Architects, and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. He will deliver his keynote at 2:00pm as the special guest of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association.
From Selkirk, Manitoba, the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba in January 2001. He was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal Judge. He practiced primarily in the fields of civil and criminal litigation and Aboriginal law. He has represented a cross-section of clients but is best-known for his representation of Aboriginal people and his knowledge of Aboriginal legal issues. He has been awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement award in addition to many other community service awards, and, since 2009, has served as the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. He will present at 3:00pm as the special guest of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.
The 2015 Shingwauk and Gathering will also feature a new event, hosted in collaboration with the 4Rs Youth Movement. A youth gathering will run concurrently, titled “Celebrating Resilience: Youth Leading Change for Reconciliation”. To register, please visit the 4Rs registration webpage.
The conference is open to the public and free of cost. Those interested in attending can register online at www.shingwauk.org or email ShingwaukDG@algomau.ca or call 704.949.2301, Ext. 4623.