Anishinabek Discovery Centre receives $2 million
SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Anishinabek Discovery Centre received a big financial boost from the Provincial government on Friday with the announcement of $2 million to help organizers finish construction on the building.
The waterfront facility will be the home of the city’s new Indigenous Institute, and will bear the name, Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.
Mitch Case is the director of student services at the facility, and says an indigenous school has been the dream of a former local chief from as far back as two centuries ago.
"We’re coming up on 200 years since Chief Shingwauk first talked about it that vision," said Case.
He adds that vision was never fully implemented.
"We know that vision was then corrupted and turned into residential school systems and it did so much harm in our community. And we know, this building is finally the visual and the physical embodiment of that vision coming into reality."
Harry Huskins is with the Anishinabek Discovery Centre, and says the building will also be home to important documents and artifacts.
"It will contain archives and library facilities. We will be bringing the assemblies of first Nations papers in, other indigenous collections and other non-indigenous collections," said Huskins.
The province says this building is important for many reasons, and among them is to make sure Canadians never forget the country’s shameful past with its residential schools.
Lisa MacLeod, the provincial Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Cultural Industries, agrees.
"I met a woman today who was taken to a residential school when she was four years old and there was a five-year-old child here today. I think it’s important for us to all remember and to move forward and I think this is a very positive way that is very heartwarming way," said MacLeod.
Lyle Sayers, Chair of the Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig Board of Directors says there have been delays over the past two years of construction because of funding setbacks.
"I think the government realized it’s not our fault in terms of the delay and I think they wanted to help us finish off the building, knowing the importance of it and what it means to Sault Ste. Marie and the outlying areas," said Sayers
The goal is to have a grand opening later in the spring.