(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON- October 17, 2020): Today, the Primate and Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, accompanied by distinguished dignitaries, commemorated 30 years of reconciliation work on the Shingwauk Site. The group toured the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and the newly established Shingwauk Education Trust’s Library and Archives Research Centre (Anishinaabe Discovery Centre).
“For the last three decades, the Anglican Church has been a partner with the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA) and the Garden River and Batchewana First Nations in the Shingwauk Education Trust dedicated to furthering Indigenous education on the Shingwauk Site,” shared Archdeacon Dr. Harry Huskins. “The Trust’s new Library and Archives facility is the culmination of much of this joint work with each other over these three decades. The new building stands as a testament to the success of this reconciliation work that all of the partners in the Trust have worked diligently to achieve.”
Of particular significance was the time spent at the Shingwauk Cemetery, where Survivor and Elder Shirley Horn shared her truth, and the Primate offered prayers for those buried there, and elsewhere, who attended the Shingwauk Indian Residential School. The Primate reiterated the Anglican Church’s Apology for its involvement in the Shingwauk and other Residential Schools.
“If we don’t know our history, we run the risk of repeating it,” shared the Most Reverend Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “Learning how and why our own structures and ways of looking at things had allowed this [Residential Schools] to happen will help us to change. Understanding how what began as something we thought was for the benefit of the children could go so horribly wrong is critical. It’s not just individuals, it’s the whole system- the government, the church; that colonial western European sense of superiority that led us into a place where we thought we knew better, and did not adequately acknowledge or listen to the knowledge that was in the community already. Reconciliation is a long process, and we need to continue to listen to stories and Indigenous people and ask ourselves what needs to change.”
The team at Algoma University and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre welcomed the visit and look forward to ongoing work with the Anglican Church in the future.
“The continuation of working towards truth, reconciliation and healing happen with meaningful engagement, relationship building and efforts to understand parts of a story that may not directly touch us, but definitely impact us,” shared Elizabeth Edgar-Webkamigad, Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre Director. “It is important to meet each other halfway when looking to build bridges that help understanding happen. With kindness and good intentions, we will continue to see healing for generations to come.”