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Anishinaabe Students

Committed to Cross-Cultural Learning

Located on the site of the former Shingwauk Indian Residential School, Algoma University offers a unique and historically rich setting for cross-cultural learning, where Anishinaabe (First Nations, Métis and Inuit), Canadian, and international students and faculty learn from each other in a spirit of friendship and respect.

students laughing together
COVID-19 Update

Anishinaabe Initiatives is continuing to provide academic and cultural support for students during this time and can be reached by email, Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.

Bonnie Gaikezheyongai, Anishinaabe Academic Success Advisor: bonnie.gaikezheyongai@algomau.ca

Melissa Agawa, Anishinaabe Social and Cultural Program Coordinator: melissa.agawa@algomau.ca

Algoma University is committed to respecting the history of its campus as a former Indian Residential School, and honouring its former students, as well as their families and communities. Algoma U is committed to providing an educational environment for Anishinaabe students that is respectful, inclusive, and welcoming. In 2006, Algoma University honoured and acknowledged this commitment by signing a Covenant with the Shingwauk Education Trust (SET). This Covenant, witnessed by then National Chief Phil Fontaine, among others, articulates a promise by Algoma University to support the creation of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (SKG), a sister-institution, which shares the campus and provides unique educational programming from an Anishinaabe world-view.

In 2008, the Ontario provincial government passed the Algoma University Act, which established Algoma University as an independent degree-granting institution. The Act stipulates that the University has a special mission:

  1. To be a teaching-orientated university that provides programs in liberal arts and sciences and professional programs, primarily at the undergraduate level, with a particular focus on the needs of Northern Ontario; and
  2. To cultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal communities and other communities, in keeping with the history of Algoma University and its geographic site.

Algoma University fulfills this mission and commitment in many ways. Anishinaabe people are represented throughout the University in governance, staff, and faculty. The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) was established as a joint initiative of Algoma University and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA). Algoma U has a high Anishinaabe student population, with 13 percent of its students identifying as Anishinaabe, First Nations, Métis, or Inuit. There is an active Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA) on campus, as well as an Anishinaabe Student Life Centre. The Anishinaabe Initiatives Division (AID) provides academic and cultural support to Algoma U’s students. In 2011, Algoma University began the process of installing bilingual signs in Anishinaabemowin and English. Furthermore, Algoma U aspires to have some Anishinaabe content in all courses.

Want to learn more about what to expect as an Anishinaabe Student? Download the Anishinaabe Student Handbook. 

Follow the Anishinaabe Initiatives Division on Facebook to keep up with all the latest news.

Special Mission

Algoma University has been given a very special mission, one that connects to its place on this historical site.

Algoma University is committed to being a welcoming, inclusive, safe, and respectful learning community; one that values the opportunities to learn from and with students, staff and visitors from all parts of the world. This is what makes Algoma University such a special place.

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Community Cousins program

The Anishinaabe Initiatives Division (AID) is seeking returning students for our new Community Cousins peer mentor program to support new students attending the Sault Ste. Marie campus during the 2019 – 2020 school year. As mentors, the Community Cousins goal is to create a sense of belonging within the Algoma University (AU) community and support Anishinaabe students to be successful in their studies.

The Community Cousins mentoring program is designed for upper-year students to be paired with first-year students to help them navigate their university experience. The Cousins can guide students from academics to health supports and encourage them to take part in student life and co-curricular activities. The program will build capacity for mentors to engage with first- year students and gain valuable leadership skills.

Find out more (PDF)

Anishinaabe Student Life Centre

Located in SH312

Gathering at the Rapids Pow-wow

The annual Gathering at the Rapids Pow-wow is a joint initiative of the Anishinaabe Initiatives Division and the Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association. Drums and dancers from the surrounding area gather in Bawating (Sault Ste. Marie) to celebrate the culture and pride that exists among the community and amongst Algoma U’s students. It is an opportunity for students to connect with the community.

Visiting Elders in Residence

This program is designed to provide support to Anishinaabe students. Elders visit the Anishinaabe Student Life Centre once a week to share their insights and wisdom and to enhance cultural awareness and sensitivity on campus.

Full Moon Ceremonies

These ceremonies are held once a month around the time of a full moon. Full moon ceremonies are open to all women. These ceremonies are offered in partnership with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.

Annual Elders’ Gathering

This gathering is a cross-cultural learning experience which strengthens the cultural identity of Anishinaabe students. Elders are invited to Algoma University to share their knowledge and wisdom.

Soup’s On

Once a week, the Anishinaabe Initiatives Division offers a soup and bannock lunch in the Anishinaabe Student Life Centre. This is a social event and is open to everyone.

Anishinaabe Speaker Series

The Anishinaabe Speaker Series invites Anishinaabe and Indigenous academe from other universities to speak to Algoma U students about their research. These researchers are role models for Anishinaabe students in the University and come from all fields of study.

Anishinaabe Inendamowin Research Symposium

Anishinaabe Initiatives and Anishinaabe faculty and staff at Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig are hosting the third bi-annual Anishinaabe Inendamowin Research Symposium with the theme “Weaving Meaningful Anishinaabe Research Bundles.” The purpose of the symposium is to enrich research through the integration of Anishinaabe Inendamowin (Inendamowin being an Anishinaabe word signifying thought). For more information, please visit our research section.

Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre

As a vast collection of documents chronicling the experiences of residential school Survivors, the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is one of the important ways we honour the history of our campus. Our staff, faculty, and students are actively involved in the process of collecting and digitizing one of the largest archives of residential school life in all of Canada, thus preserving the heritage of our location.

First Nation, Métis and Inuit Students

Algoma University is committed to providing an educational environment for Anishinaabe (First Nation, Métis and Inuit) students that is respectful, inclusive, and welcoming.  The Anishinaabe Initiatives team strives to enhance the experience and success of Anishinaabe learners at Algoma U.

To receive information about academic and cultural support services, you can declare your status:

  • When you apply through the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) or directly to Algoma U; and
  • Once you are accepted at Algoma University and have registered for classes, complete the Voluntary Aboriginal Self-Identification on your AU student portal at students.algomau.ca.

Students can opt in to receive emails about community events, academic workshops, scholarships, bursaries, employment opportunities and cultural activities.

Meet Our Anishinaabe Initiatives Team

Anishinaabe Initiatives provides academic and cultural support to Anishinaabe students and Algoma U community members. In addition, Anishinaabe Initiatives delivers events and programming that helps Anishinaabe students succeed in University; while helping promote and celebrate Anishinaabe culture and practices on campus.

Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA)

SASA is an organization run by students for students, and works to ensure that Anishinaabe students’ voices are recognized amongst the Algoma U community.

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Anishinaabe Peoples’ Council (APC)

The Anishinaabe Peoples’ Council (APC) has a collective responsibility to represent the needs, and aspirations of the Anishinaabe people and Anishinaabe students at Algoma University.

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Anishinaabe Student Residence

Algoma University is very pleased to offer two designated Anishinaabe Student Residence options on campus for single students.

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Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig

The Shingwauk Education Trust has established Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, which offers courses and programs of particular interest to Anishinaabe students.

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