- 1 UP
staff smiling in library
Home > News > Following in Her Mother’s Footsteps

Following in Her Mother’s Footsteps

Following — literally — in her mother’s footsteps, Lori Rainville embodies Algoma University’s past, present and future.

The proud member of Missanabie Cree First Nation initially visited the campus in 1981. Rainville accompanied her mother, Alice Fletcher Souliere, to the inaugural Shingwauk Reunion. Decades earlier, Alice had been a student at the Shingwauk Residential School.

“I had just finished high school and went to the gathering as a family activity,” Rainville recalled. “My mother never told us anything about the residential school. So it wasn’t until then that I was introduced to it. But because I was a teenager, it wasn’t something that really interested me at the time.”

As the years passed, a maturing Rainville grew more curious. “Then I came to the second reunion in 1991 with my mother and that’s when everything kind of started. My mother passed away in January 1992 and I still didn’t know her story. I decided to go back to school that fall.”

That decision turned into a life-changer for the 30-year-old. “Everything was coming together,” Rainville continued. “I was learning about myself and my two children were exposed to everything right from the beginning. I had grown up in Elliot Lake and didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t know what my background was.”

Choosing an academic major came easily. “Sociology really caught my attention,” Rainville recalled. “I’ve always wondered about behaviours and why people do what they do.”

Student life at Algoma opened many new doors. Becoming active in the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association helped Rainville learn more about the school’s history and students.

Close ties with her alma mater continue to this day. Rainville serves as Chair of the Anishinaabe People’s Council. “It’s hard to stay away from there (Algoma U),” she chuckled 19 years after graduating. “There’s a deep connection with my mom’s time here. Although the history remains, something positive resulted from that.”

A third generation of important family associations with Algoma U is part of this story, too. Rainville and her husband Kim watched their son Nolan graduate in 2014 from the Bachelor of Arts in Anishinaabemowin program. And the couple’s daughter, Dayna, will receive her Bachelor in Fine Arts (Visual) degree at this year’s Convocation.

Meanwhile, as Missanabie Cree’s Education Counselor, Rainville helps others begin post-secondary studies. “I never thought I would be here today helping our members pursue higher education,” she said.

Written by: Rick McGee 

Share Article