On May 19, 2006, the Covenant was signed between Shingwauk Education Trust and Algoma University. This agreement was developed with a foundation of mutual respect between the two institutions, modeled after the Two Row Wampum treaty.
Also known as the Guswhenta, the Two Row Wampum is a 1613 agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch nations. The treaty was enshrined in a sacred Wampum belt with two parallel rows, signifying each nation’s distinct path along the river of life. The treaty demonstrates that each nation would respect the other’s path, and that these paths would never cross. The nations would remain intact forever into the future, coexisting in peace, friendship and mutual respect.
The Shingwauk – Algoma Covenant has at its foundation the principles of the Two Row Wampum. The agreement recognizes the independence of each institution, distinct in their culture, traditions and nationhood. Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, as an educational institution rooted in Anishinaabe worldview, language and pedagogy, is acknowledged as traveling its own path along the river of life and knowledge. Algoma University, an institution of the Canadian education system, also has its parallel path along the river.
The two institutions have agreed to work together, alongside each other in pursuit of their goals to provide quality education to Anishinaabe students and students of all cultural backgrounds. They will support each other in the spirit of peace, friendship and respect, never interfering in the other’s approach to teaching and learning.
The Covenant is a significant agreement as both Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and Algoma University operate on the historical same site, the past site of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School. The legacy of this school and all residential schools across Canada continues to affect Anishinaabe people, families and communities. The Covenant provides a meaningful statement, an agreement in both principle and practice, to strengthen the relationship between the two nations and educational institutions. The Covenant has opened the doorway for the growth of both Shingwauk and Algoma, working as partners now and into the future.
Now that SKG has been established and recognized legally by the Province of Ontario, as an institute of higher learning, dedicated to educating Anishinaabe students the Addendum to the Covenant illustrates the importance of strengthening the partnership among SKG, SET and Algoma University.