(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – July 18, 2016): The Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA), the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC), and partners will be hosting the fifth annual Shingwauk Gathering and Conference from July 29th – 31st at Algoma University. This year’s theme is “Fulfilling the Vision”. The event will open with the lighting of the sacred fire at 4:00pm on Friday July 29th, 2016.
The annual Shingwauk Gathering and Conference continues the tradition of Survivor gatherings that began with the 1981 reunion. The conference provides Survivors with the opportunity to gather together with each other, family members, and the wider community to engage in past and current issues affecting Survivors and Aboriginal peoples in a conference-like setting.
“As we get ready to celebrate 35 years of the Shingwauk Gathering, we should be mindful of all the Survivors that have gone before us,” said Jay Jones, President of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association. “Over 100 years of Indian Residential School legacy precedes us. Now we need to look to the future, walk together and learn from each other, patterned by Chief Shingwauk’s original vision. All are invited to the Gathering being held on July 29, 30 and 31, 2016.”
The CSAA and SRSC have developed a compelling line-up of presentations and workshops focused on fulfilling Chief Shingwauk’s vision of cross-cultural education and responding to the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada’s Calls to Action. This year’s event will include residential school tours, discussions, exercises and workshops, free youth and children’s programming, as well as presentations from Christopher Lafontaine, Eddy Robinson, and Christianne V. Stephens. The conference will also include free public evening events on both Friday (5:00pm) and Saturday (7:00pm), featuring screenings from ImagineNative.
Dr. Christianne V. Stephens is a medical anthropologist who specializes in the anthropology of health and Indigenous health. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork and served as a collaborator on a number of community health projects at Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN) for the past 15 years. Stephens’ research examines various aspects of Aboriginal community health and well-being, including the social determinants of health, historical trauma, and environmental health. She is the Principal Investigator on the Walpole Island First Nation Body Mapping Study and has been working closely with Walpole Island community partners for the past several years to bring this project to fruition.
Eddy Robinson is an Anishinaabe Muskegowuk Cree of the Missanabie Cree First Nation, and was born and raised in Toronto. Over the past 25 years, Robinson has worked at the frontline of social services and advocates for Indigenous communities locally, provincially and nationally. He has evolved into a noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, educator, facilitator, trainer, and speaker. He’s involved with numerous local district school boards, colleges, universities, corporate institutions, and several Indigenous/Aboriginal organizations and currently travels across the country as a speaker.
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.