Thunder Bay Public Library – Stories of Anishinaabe Resilience (SOAR)

Thunder Bay Public Library
Thunder Bay Public Library

Thunder Bay – LIVING – We are thrilled to announce that the Thunder Bay Public Library’s Stories of Anishinaabe Resilience (SOAR) grant application to the Government of Canada Heritage Fund for Commemorating the History and Legacy of Residential Schools, Celebration and Commemoration Program was successful.

The goal of the SOAR project is to increase awareness and commemorate the history and legacy of St. Joseph’s Residential School while also honouring residential school survivors, their families, and communities.

The SOAR project will increase awareness and commemorate the history and legacy of St. Joseph’s Residential School in Thunder Bay by making the truth about the residential schools widely accessible through a research report. The report will include research on the establishment, location and movement, policies and everyday goings-on, and the closure and tearing down of the school, as well as testimonials and records of survivor experiences there.

The research may include accessing archival resources held by the City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Museum, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Shingwauk Residential School, and Department of Indian/Aboriginal/Indigenous and Northern Affairs, as well as secondary source material available online. When the research report is complete, TBPL will engage an educator to create two unit plans based on the project, tailored for use in Thunder Bay elementary and secondary schools.

The SOAR project will also honour residential school survivors, their families and communities by permanently displaying artwork at the library and recording a podcast series to share their stories of resilience. There are five components in total to the project. The most important piece is connecting with residential school survivors. We are looking for St. Joseph’s Residential School survivors who would be comfortable being interviewed for a podcast series and having their portrait painted and installed within the Library. Participants will receive an honorarium and a mental health worker will be available for support during the podcast interview.

The Library is working with several community partners to bring this project to life including, the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL), Dr. Adar Charlton, and Journalists for Human Rights.

We would also like to thank the following for their support of the project – Fort William First Nation, City of Thunder Bay Indigenous Relations and Inclusion, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Anishinabek Employment and Training Services, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, Sol Mamakwa (MPP, Kiiwetinoong), Michael Dick (CBC Thunder Bay), Lakehead Public Schools and Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board.