When Murray Sinclair spoke recently at Algoma University about the 94 recommendations he made a year ago as head of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a student asked him: "Where do we start?"
And Sault MP Terry Sheehan recalls Sinclair replying: "Education is where we must begin."
Sheehan was at Algoma University last Friday, announcing $165,314 for the Shingwauk Residental Schools Centre.
The money will be used to create an exhibition called Realizing, Healing, and Reconciliation through Education that will describe the history of Shingwauk Hall Indian Residential School and explore the issues of assimilation, cultural loss and reclamation of Canada’s indigenous peoples.
"It's going to help people heal, help people understand," Sheehan said.
Richard McCutcheon, Algoma U's academic dean, said that when he first visited the campus two years ago, "I recognized that I was walking into a place with deep meaning."
"This place has an opportunity to take what has been a dark and tragic part of Canadian history and move it towards a light - to crack open a door in the darkness and begin to see that we can transform it."
"We can, as a community and as peoples together, do something very important for all Canadians, to acknowledge past wrongs, to engage in reconciliation and to move forward in a positive direction," Dean McCutcheon said.
"Anything that the government acknowledges here through funding is a part of an acknowledgement of a larger commitment to the truth and reconciliation process."
MP Sheehan issued the following statement:
Algoma University receives $165,314
Funding to support Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre exhibit
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON - Member of Parliament Terry Sheehan announced $165,314 in funding for the Shingwauk Residental Schools Centre at Algoma University.
The funding for Algoma University comes as part of the Museum Assistance Program and will be used to fabricate and install an exhibition entitled Realizing, Healing, and Reconciliation through Education.
The exhibition will trace the history of the Shingwauk Hall Indian Residential School and investigate issues related to assimilation, cultural loss and reclamation of Canada’s indigenous peoples.
“Today’s funding is part of a greater effort by this government to work with indigenous communities across Canada and to support healing and reconciliation. I look forward to visiting the exhibit once it is up and running,” stated Sheehan.
“The investment announced today will support the ongoing healing and reconciliation process at Algoma University, as well as our commitment to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action. The funding from the Museums Assistance Program will not only allow us to create and install a permanent exhibit relating to the history of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School, but also to continue to educate the larger community on the history of this important site.” – Dr. Richard McCutcheon, academic dean at Algoma University