Algoma University’s Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is one of three new inscriptions added to the Canada Memory of the World Register. (SUpplied)

Algoma University’s Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is one of three new inscriptions added to the Canada Memory of the World Register.

Created in 2017, the Canada Memory of the World Register promotes and provides access to an immense diversity of documentary heritage significant to Canada. In recognition of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the Call for Nominations emphasized Indigenous languages and cultures.

The announcement was made Wednesday by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which oversees the inscriptions to the Register, following a thorough assessment and recommendation by the Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World.

The three new inscriptions include the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre’s Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and Shingwauk Reunion fonds, Les archives des Augustines du Canada and Selections from the Gospels in the dialect of the Inuit of Little Whale River.

Each of these meaningful pieces of historical work highlight the importance of Indigenous culture, and continuing critical work in truth and reconciliation efforts across Canada and the world.

Founded in 1981

Founded in 1981 in Sault Ste. Marie, the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association was the first community-based national Residential School Survivor organization and has membership spanning Canada and the United States.

In the past four decades, the alumni association has been gathering documentary heritage – including photographs, oral history transcripts, audio-visual footage, and documentation of their community reunions – that preserve evidence of Residential School experiences while drawing attention to the resilience of survivors.

"The inscription of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA) and Shingwauk Reunion fonds in the Canada Memory of the World Register is a recognition of the decades of Survivor work to preserve and share the history of Residential Schools,” said Krista McCracken, SRSC and Arthur A. Wishart Library Researcher/Curator. “It honours the impact of the CSAA on the national Residential School Survivor movement and reconciliation in Canada. Given the work we are doing on the Shingwauk Site, it is fitting that the official announcement falls on Orange Shirt Day this year."

UNESCO's Memory of the World program showcases the most meaningful documents in humanity’s heritage and history. Being included in the Memory of the World Register underscores the importance of preserving documentary heritage while highlighting its ongoing relevance and promoting it to citizens, students, researchers, and the public.

“These collections all have a relationship with Indigenous languages and cultures; they are distinguished by their significance, uniqueness, and quality” said Chantal Fortier, chair of the Canadian Advisory Committee. “As members of the Advisory Committee, we appreciate the excellent work done by the organizations that presented proposals that highlight the importance of documentary heritage; in one case, this work started almost four centuries ago.”

To learn more about the Memory of the World Register and about the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, read their full release here