Algoma University Receives Ontario Historical Society Indigenous History Award

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Algoma University

Uniquely located on the site of the former Shingwauk Residential School, the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) at Algoma University has taken up the charge for community-engaged work by making accessible the story of Indian Residential Schools, broadly, and the story of the Shingwauk Residential School and its Survivors, more specifically. On Saturday, the SRSC was presented with the Ontario Historical Society Indigenous Award in recognition of the truth and reconciliation work undertaken in the Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall exhibition.

On August 3, 2018, the SRSC opened in ceremony the first major, permanent, Residential School Survivor-driven exhibition in a former Residential School building. Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall honours over three decades of work led by the Survivor community in their efforts to tell the truth about the Residential School legacy and contribute to healing and reconciliation efforts. This exhibition tells the story of the Shingwauk Residential School within a larger narrative of colonization and the struggle for self-determination I n. This space is dedicated to the generations of Survivors who attended Indian Residential Schools across North America.

“The recognition of the Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall exhibition by the Ontario Historical Association award is about far more than recognizing an exhibition space,” shared Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) Researcher/Curator Krista McCracken. “This award also honours the decades of truth-telling and historical preservation work undertaken by the Shingwauk Survivors. Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall has been driven by the Survivor community and this award showcases the incredible impact that exhibitions can have when they are community centred.”

Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall incorporates decades of historical research and archival material which illustrates the lived experience at Residential Schools. It includes Residential School Survivor testimony in the form of oral history narratives and digital photo stations which allow for the continuous addition of new historical and contemporary images. Although the exhibition drew heavily from the SRSC archives, a wide range of external sources were also accessed. These include the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the General Synod Archives of the Anglican Church, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Algoma Art Gallery, Library and Archives Canada, and the Pine Family of Garden River First Nation.

Thank you so much to the Heritage Canada/Museum Assistance Program for your generous support of this ongoing and meaningful work. We look forward to the next phase of this project, opening at the end of summer 2019.