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Shingwauk Hall

On September 30, 2022, the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled an updated plaque to Shingwauk Hall at the Arthur A. Wishart Library on the campus of Algoma University. The new plaque was then permanently installed beside Bishop Fauquier Chapel on the grounds of Algoma University.

The plaque reads as follows in four languages – Anishinaabemowin, Swampy Cree, English and French:

SHINGWAUK HALL

    Owi Shingwauk Anishinaabe Maamwidaang Enji Gikinomaading agii bimibide maampii onji 1875 apiinish 1970 aawong bezhig newen Gaanada Maamwidaang Enji Gikinomaading Wiigaaman zhichigewin. Owa Anglican Mekodekooniyed, E.F. Wilson agii waawiindaan maanda gikonomaadi gamig owa onji Ogimaa Shingwaukonse (Little Pine). Shingwaukonse agii waabmdaan owi gikinomaadii wiigwaaman zhiwe Anishinaabe miinwaa abi shki digoshinajig Gaanada binoojiinig adaa gikinomaadiwog ado inaadiziwiniwaan. Apii 1935, Shingwauk Wiigwaam agii azhichigaademigad awii meshkodising owi gikinomaage wiigwaam, agaa azhi gikenjigaademigag Shingwauk Nakiiwin Wiigwaam. Owi nigo naagoziwin Maamwidaang Enji Gikinomaading agaa maajitaachigaademigag owi Shingwaakonse ado noziwin gaawii agii dibishkoosidosiimigad ado waabmdamiwin owi aazhidesemigag inaadiziwin gikinomaadiwin. Owi apii maanji shpaamigag, nigodwaag shi naanimidina Anishinaabeg, Wiisaakode miinwaa Inuit binoojiinig agii bamigaaziwog endaawaad ensa biboon, gegaa gwa gikino mamaanjigonigaaziwaad, miinwaa ginamaagiwaaziwaad awii nikaaziwaad ado iniwewiniwaan. Gikinomaagewin memdage agii aawan wiiyaw anakiiwin maage wiigwaam naagidowenjigaadeg ankiiwin, Zhaagnaashiimiwin miinwaa aname gagiikwewin miinwaa agii nikaazam awii binaajichigaademigag inaadiziwin, iniwewin miinwaa inodewiziwin wiijiindiwin, niibna n’ching bakebijigaaziwaad odowemaawiniwaa. Owi nigokaan zhiwe digosinoon nigo kamigaaziwaad woshme nigodwaak shi niishtana agaa gikinomaagaazijig miinwaa enkiitaagejig, niibna yaa-aabi gikinwaajisigaadesinag. Apii agaa kwa gibaakogaademigag owi Maamwidaan Enji Gikinomaading apii 1970, agaa Zhaabwiijig agii maajiishkatonaa-aa owi Binoojiinig owi Shingwauk Agaa Zhaajig Wiijii-ewin, enkiimigag awii zhiibenjigaadeg Shingwauk Wiigwaam owi aazhidesemigag inaadiziwin gikinomaadiwin owi gegeti agaazhi waabmdang Ogimaa Shingwaukonse miinwaa noojimowin newen odenwinan newen maanaajidodamowinan newen Maamwidaan Enji Gikinomaading.

SHINGWAUK HALL

ᔑᐣᐧᐊᐠ ᐧᐊᐢᑲᐃᑲᐣ

    ᐅᑕ ᑭ ᐃᔑ ᒋᒪᑌᐤ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᐠ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᔑ ᑕᔑᑫᒋᐠ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐃ ᐊᐧᐊᔑᔕᐠ ᒣᐧᑲᐨ 1875 ᐱᓂᐡ 1970 ᑲ ᑭ ᐊᐢᑭᐧᐊᐠ ᐁᐧᑲᓂᒪ ᐯᔭᐠ ᐊᓂᐃ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᐧᑲ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᔑ ᑕᔑᑫᒋᐠ ᐊᐧᐊᔑᔕᐠ ᐅᑕ ᑲᓇᑕᐢᑭᐠ᙮ ᐊᑲᓇᔑᐧᐃ ᐊᔭᒥᐁᐧᐃᑭᒪᐣ ᐃ ᐁᑊ ᐧᐃᓪᓯᐣ (E.F. Wilson) ᐅᑭᒪᑲᐣ ᔑᐣᐧᐊᑯᓀᓯ (ᒥᓇᐃᑯᐡ) ᑭ ᐃᔑᓂᑲᑕᑦ ᐅᒣᓂᐤ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᑯᓂᐤ᙮ ᔑᐣᐧᐊᑯᐣᓯ ᑭ ᐃᑌᓂᑕᒧᐸᐣ ᒥᐧᑲᒥᐠ ᑭᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᒋᐠ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐃ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐧᐁᒥᐢᑎᑯᔑᐧᐃ ᐊᐧᐊᔑᔕᐠ ᐅᑎᑕᐢᑲᓀᓯᐧᐃᓂᐧᐊᐤ᙮ 1935 ᑲ ᐊᐢᑭᐧᐊᐠ, ᔑᐣᐧᐊᐠ ᐧᐊᐢᑲᐃᑲᐣ ᑭ ᐅᔑᑕᓂᐧᐊᐣ ᑭᒋ ᒥᐡᐧᑲᒋᐢᑭᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑲᔭᐡ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᐠ ᔑᐣᐧᐊᐠ ᐊᐸᑎᓯᐧᐃ ᑕᔑᑫᐧᐃ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᐠ ᑲ ᐃᒋᑲᑌᑭᐸᐣ ᑲᔭᐡ᙮ ᒧᓇ ᐅᒋ ᐃᑭᓂᓂᐤ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᑌᓂᑕᒧᑯᐸᓀ ᔑᐣᐧᐊᑯᓀᓯ ᑭᒋ ᒪᒪᐧᐃ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᓱᓇᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑲᑭᓇᐤ ᐃᑕᐢᑲᓀᓯᐧᐃᓇ᙮ 150 ᑭ ᐃᑕᔑᐧᐊᐠ ᒪᐧᐊᐨ ᐁ ᒥᒉᑎᒋᐠ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐃ, ᐊᐱᑕᐤ ᐧᐁᒥᐢᑎᑯᔑᐧᐃ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐊᐡᑭᒣᐧᐃ ᐊᐧᐊᔑᔕᐠ, ᑕᑐ ᐱᐳᐣ ᐊᑐᐢᑲᑦ ᐁ ᑭ ᐅᑎᓂᒋᐠ ᐧᐃᑭᐧᐊᐠ ᐅᒋ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐁᑲ ᐁ ᐅᒋ ᐸᑭᑎᓂᒋᐠ ᑭᒋ ᐊᔭᒧᐧᐊᑫᒋᐠ ᐅᑎᔑᑭᔑᐧᐁᐧᐃᓂᐧᐊᐤ᙮ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑫᐧᐃᐣ ᑭ ᐊᐸᑕᐣ ᐁ ᐊᐸᒋᐃᒋᐠ, ᐧᐁᒥᐢᑎᑯᔑᒧᐧᐃᐣ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐊᔭᒥᐁᐧᐃ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑫᐧᐃᐣ ᑭ ᐊᐸᑕᐧᓇ ᐁ ᐱᑯᓂᑲᑌᓂᐠ ᐅᑎᑕᐢᑲᓀᓯᐧᐃᓂᐧᐊᐤ, ᐃᔑᑭᔑᐧᐁᐧᐃᓂᐧᐊᐤ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐅᐯᔭᑯᑌᐧᐃᓯᐧᐃ ᐧᐊᑯᒥᑐᐧᐃᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐊᐢᑲᐤ ᐁ ᐸᑲᓂᐱᑎᒋᐠ ᐧᐃᒋᔕᓂᒥᑐᐧᐊᐠ᙮ ᐊᐧᐊᓯᑌ 120 ᐊᐧᐊᔑᔕᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐅᑕᐸᑎᓯᐧᐊᐠ ᑭᓇᐃᑲᐧᐊᑲᓂᐧᐊᐧᓇᐠ ᑭᔓᐧᐊᐠ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᑯᐠ ᒥᒉᐟ ᐁᑲ ᐁ ᐅᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐧᐊᑕᓯᓇᐃᑲᑌᐠ ᐊᐧᐁᓂᑲᐣ ᐊᐣᑕ ᑲ ᓇᐃᑲᐟ᙮ ᐊᐢᐱᐣ ᑲ ᑭᐸᐃᑲᑌᐠ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᐠ 1970 ᑲ ᐊᐢᑭᐧᐊᐠ, ᑲ ᑭ ᐸᐢᐱᑐᑕᑭᐠ ᑭ ᐅᔑᑕᐧᐊᐠ ᒪᒧᐧᐃᐃᑐᐧᐃᓂᓂᐤ ᐅᑕᐧᐊᔑᒥᔑᐧᐊᐧᐊ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᑕᒋᐠ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᑯᐠ ᒪᒧᐧᐃᐃᑐᐧᐃᐣ ᐁ ᑭ ᐃᔑᓂᑲᑕᑭᐠ ᐁ ᑭᐢᑭᓯᑐᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᐯᐡᑭᐡ ᐁ ᐊᑐᐢᑲᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᐅᒧᐢᑌᔦᓂᑕᒧᐧᐃᐣ ᐅᑭᒪᑲᐣ ᔑᐣᐧᐊᑯᐣᓯ ᑲᑭᓇᐤ ᐃᑕᐢᑲᓀᓯᐧᐃᓇ ᑭᒋ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑲᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᒥᐧᓇᒋᐃᒋᐠ ᐊᓂᑭ ᑲ ᑭ ᐊᑯᐃᑯᒋᐠ ᒣᐧᑲᐨ ᑭᐢᑭᓄᐊᒪᑐᐧᐃᑲᒥᑯᐠ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᑕᒋᐠ᙮

SHINGWAUK HALL

    The Shingwauk Indian Residential School operated on this site from 1875 to 1970 as part of the Canadian Residential Schools system. An Anglican minister, E.F. Wilson, named this school for Chief Shingwaukonse (Little Pine). Shingwaukonse had a vision of creating teaching wigwams where Anishinaabe and settler children would learn from each other’s cultures. In 1935, Shingwauk Hall was built to replace the former school building, known as the Shingwauk Industrial Home. The assimilationist Residential School created in Shingwaukonse’s name did not fulfil his vision for cross-cultural education. At its peak, 150 First Nation, Métis and Inuit children were removed from their homes every year, most of them forcibly, and forbidden to speak their languages. Education focused on physical or domestic labour, English language and religious instruction and was meant to break cultural, linguistic and familial ties, often separating siblings. The cemetery on site includes burials for over 120 students and staff, with many remaining unmarked. Since the closure of the Residential School in 1970, Survivors have formed the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, which works to dedicate Shingwauk Hall to cross-cultural education in the true vision of Chief Shingwaukonse and the healing of communities from the harms of Residential Schools.

SHINGWAUK HALL

    Le pensionnat indien de Shingwauk, intégré au système canadien des pensionnats autochtones, accueille des élèves sur ce site entre 1875 et 1970. Le pasteur anglican E. F. Wilson nomme l’école en hommage au chef Shingwaukonse (Little Pine), qui souhaite créer des wigwams d’enseignement où les enfants anishinaabe et ceux des pionniers pourraient s’enrichir de leurs cultures respectives. En 1935, Shingwauk Hall est érigé à la place de l’ancien bâtiment scolaire, le Shingwauk Industrial Home. Ce pensionnat d’assimilation, pourtant créé au nom de Shingwaukonse, faillit à l’idéal d’enseignement interculturel porté par le chef. Au plus fort de son activité, 150 enfants des Premières Nations, métis et inuits sont chaque année retirés de leur foyer, le plus souvent de force, et se voient interdits de communiquer dans leur langue maternelle. L’enseignement, axé sur les travaux manuels et ménagers, l’anglais et l’instruction religieuse, vise à annihiler les liens avec la culture, la langue et la famille, et brise de nombreuses fratries. Le cimetière du site accueille les sépultures de plus de 120 élèves et membres du personnel, dont beaucoup sont anonymes. Après la fermeture du pensionnat en 1970, les survivants créent la Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, qui œuvre pour faire de Shingwauk Hall un centre d’enseignement interculturel fidèle au souhait du chef Shingwaukonse et un lieu où les communautés pourront guérir des séquelles laissées par les pensionnats.

Historical background

The history of the Shingwauk Hall site does not start with where it stands today, nor does it begin with the school’s first principal, Reverend Edward Francis Wilson. The history of Shingwauk Hall starts with Chief Shingwaukonse (Little Pine) and his fierce determination to secure rights and opportunities for his people.

Shingwaukonse, a signatory to the 1850 Robinson-Huron Treaty, defended his community with military strategy and diplomacy from predatory advances by settlers and governments who were seeking resources with no reciprocity.1

Shingwaukonse, who was determined that Anishinaabe children should have the treaty right to education, had a vision of creating teaching wigwams where Anishinaabe children could learn the ways of the newcomers in order to protect their community and thrive in a changing world.2 Teaching wigwams would be places where settler children and Anishinaabe children would learn together. Shingwaukonse understood a wigwam as a building or structure and, within a teaching wigwam, children would learn the best from both settler and Anishinaabe knowledge in a model of cross-cultural education.

Shingwaukonse did not want his people to be kept away from settler knowledge or concepts that were impacting their local communities, and Shingwaukonse wanted his people to be able to participate and compete with settlers as society changed, while retaining their identities as Anishinaabe. Shingwaukonse wanted Anishinaabe to learn.

After Chief Shingwaukonse died in 1854, his son, Augustine Shingwauk, took up the mission of bringing a teaching wigwam to his people. The first location at which Chief Shingwaukonse attempted to establish a school was at Garden River, or Gitigaan-ziibi, which is on the traditional lands used seasonally by the Anishinaabe at the mouth of the Garden River where it meets the St. Marys River. After his journey from Garden River to Toronto in the 1830s, Augustine was inspired again to go to Southern Ontario, to Sarnia, Brantford and Toronto, to implore the Bishop of the Anglican Church to donate money for a school and an educating missionary.3 After a failed attempt at a school at Garden River, Reverend E.F. Wilson built the Shingwauk Home in 1875 on the current property where Shingwauk Hall stands today.4 Wilson named the school after Shingwaukonse because of the close relationship he had with the family, and because Shingwaukonse and his sons had participated in fundraising efforts for education in Garden River. The school was named as a memorial. The original Shingwauk site encompassed 36.6 hectares (90.5 acres).5 The land was chosen for its access to the river, as many of the early students arrived by boat. The land for the Shingwauk site was held in trust by the Anglican Church for the purposes of Indigenous education.6

While Shingwaukonse’s vision promised a good education for Anishinaabe children, what was enacted by the school’s first principal, E.F. Wilson, was assimilation. The Shingwauk Home under Wilson was a place of discipline and manual labour.7 At this time, the Shingwauk Home was only for boys. Girls were attending the Wawanosh Home – named for a chief from the south of Huron who Wilson knew from his time working as a missionary in Sarnia. They were separated from the Shingwauk Home until the girls’ wing was built in 1900.

Girls and boys had separate rules, chores, duties and curriculums. Students at Shingwauk were encouraged to report on each other with a system of buttons that boys would gain or lose if they heard each other speaking their Indigenous languages. The boys with the most buttons at the end of the week would receive special snacks.8 Wilson focused on his pupils’ learning to speak and obey commands in English9 and wanted to open a school to offer students “all the advantages which their white brethren enjoyed.”10 Wilson’s administration of the Shingwauk Home was a wholly contrary system of education to the vision of Chief Shingwaukonse. Wilson departed the Shingwauk Home in 1893.

The Shingwauk Hall building that stands today was opened in 1935 and was designed by architect Roland Orr.11 It was designed to feel institutional and to keep students separated by gender. While the curriculum always focused on a mixture of manual labour, English and religious instruction,12 this version of Shingwauk Hall became an institution closer to the residential school system seen across Canada throughout the 20th century.13 Students worked half of the day and received educational instruction for the other half. The manual labour comprised anything that needed to be done at the school – building and farm maintenance, farm chores, cooking, cleaning, laundry, mending clothing, etc. The work was divided along gender lines and was common at every residential school. Many students at Shingwauk Hall felt that they only received “half an education.”14 Before the closure of Shingwauk Hall in 1970, students attended classes at local Sault Ste. Marie schools with non-Indigenous children while working and residing at Shingwauk Hall after classes.

Survivors of Shingwauk Hall share stories of abuse, neglect and student deaths.15 A total of 85 communities were impacted by the residential school at Shingwauk Hall.16 The onsite Shingwauk cemetery has an estimated 120 students and staff buried within its boundaries. Many of the burials are unmarked, and the lack of diligent record-keeping means that there could be many more burials on the site.17 Survivors have reported witnessing burials outside of the boundaries of the current cemetery.18

The Shingwauk Indian Residential School was one of the longest-operating residential schools in Ontario, second to the Mohawk Institute in Brantford. Additionally, Shingwauk Hall is one of the few residential school buildings in Canada that is still standing and in use.19

Shingwauk Hall’s provincial significance lies in its legacy as a site for education and healing. After its closure in 1970, the building became home to Algoma University College in 1971. In addition to Algoma University’s special mission to “[c]ultivate cross-cultural learning between Aboriginal communities and other communities, in keeping with the history of Algoma University College and its geographic site,”20 this place is home to the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre. The Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association is a group of Shingwauk Hall survivors and their descendants who have been working to educate and heal survivor communities since the first Shingwauk Reunion in 1981.21 The 1981 reunion saw over 400 students, their families, staff and community members gathered on the site to talk about their collective experiences. The documents, photographs and artifacts that these reunion participants brought with them contributed to the founding of what is now the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre,22 which provides culturally informed educational programming to thousands of visitors every year.23 The main entrance for the building, once used for staff, formal guests (such as government or church officials) and formal school photographs, was converted into a permanent exhibition space in 2018, titled Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall.24 Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall is an exhibition that continues to expand, and commemorates and educates different aspects of the site’s history and student experience.25 The Shingwauk Hall site is situated within the traditional territory of Garden River Anishinaabe in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and is also home to the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community.


The Ontario Heritage Trust gratefully acknowledges the research of Skylee-Storm Hogan in preparing this paper.

© Ontario Heritage Trust, 2022


1 Janet Elizabeth Chute, The Legacy of Shingwaukonse: A Century of Native Leadership (Toronto, ON: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1998), pp. 4-5.

2 James R. Miller, Shingwauk's Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2012), p. 6.

3 Augustine Shingwauk, Little Pine's Journal: The Appeal of a Christian Chippeway Chief on Behalf of His People (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.: Algoma University College, 1991), p. 4.

4 Miller, p. 7.

5 Krista McCracken and Skylee-Storm Hogan, “Reimagining Archival Practice and Place-Based History at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre,” in Cybercartography in a Reconciliation Community: Engaging Intersecting Perspectives, ed. Stephanie Pyne and Taylor D R F. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2019), pp. 101-112, 104.

6About,” Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, May 17, 2021.

7 Edward F. Wilson, Missionary Work among the Ojebway Indians (New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1886), p. 156.

8 Edward F. Wilson, “The fourth Annual Report of the Shingwauk Industrial Home for Indian Boys,” in Our Indian Homes (Sault Ste. Marie: Shingwauk Home, 1878), p. 20.

9 John Sheridan Milloy and Logan McCallum Mary Jane, A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: University of Manitoba Press, 2017), p. 43.

10 Wilson, p. 161.

11 Magdalena Milosz, “Instruments as Evidence: An Archive of the Architecture of Assimilation,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, April 11, 2020, . p. 7.

12 Wilson, pp. 157-158.

13 Jane Sims, “Susie Jones Was Taken from Her Family and Transferred to a Residential School,” London Free Press, March 11, 2015.

14 Donald John Wilshere, “The Experiences of Seven Alumni Who Attended Shingwauk Residential School as Children, 1929-1964” (dissertation, Lakehead University Faculty of Education, 1999), p. 23.

15 Frank Rupnik, “'You Can't Go Back and Redact the Parts of History You Don't like,' Says Residential School Survivor,” SooToday, June 22, 2021.

16 https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/ontario-providing-200k-to-the-children-of-shingwauk-alumni-association-1.58722, https://nationtalk.ca/story/ontario-providing-indian-residential-school-supports-to-the-children-of-shingwauk-alumni-association; According to research undertaken by the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association.

17 Shingwauk cemetery burial register extract. Reproduced 1977, originally created 1876-1977, 2015-050-001, Shingwauk Cemetery Series, Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

18 “What You May Not Know about Shingwauk Indian Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie,” CBC Windsor, June 5, 2021.

19 Laura Hanrahan, “Here's What Ontario's Former Residential Schools Are Used for Today,” Urbanized (Daily Hive, June 18, 2021).

20Our Special Mission,” Special Mission (Algoma University, March 8, 2022).

21 “Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association,” Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (Shingwauk Residential School Centre), accessed March 27, 2022.

22 McCracken and Hogan, p. 103.

23 Ibid, p. 104.

24 Lynne Brown, “‘Teaching Wigwam’ The Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall Project Continues to Build Archive Collection,” The Toronto Star, February 10, 2021.

25 “Future Galleries,” Healing & reconciliation through education (Reclaiming Shingwauk Hall), accessed March 27, 2022.