The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) has launched the results of the “Healing and Education Through Digital Access” project funded by the National Heritage Digitization Strategy. This project received $86,890 in funding to digitize and make available unique archival records which document the early years of the Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools. By preserving and providing community access to these records the SRSC seeks to enhance Canada’s understanding of residential schools and reconciliation.
“This project is directly connected to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action directed at archives and post-secondary institutions,” shared Researcher and Curator Krista McCracken. “Guided by Shingwauk Survivors, this project was based in community archival practices which make historical material available based on the needs and desires of the Survivor community. By digitizing this material the SRSC is increasing knowledge of the early years of the Residential School System in Canada and enriching public discussions about reconciliation.”
This initiative was focused on making accessible 10 letter books from the early history of the Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools. The letter books range in date from 1876 to 1904 and include letters from the first principal Edward F. Wilson and the fourth principal George L. King to various recipients including government officials, church representatives, white and Indigenous community members, former students, and more. The letters are of particular relevance for understanding the social, political and intellectual network in which Residential Schools operated.
The letters books and their descriptions are now available on the Algoma Archives website, as well as on the Internet Archive. The information in these letter books is invaluable to researchers, Survivors and their families, and the wider public.