As protesters set up camp in the nation’s capital to oppose Canada’s 150th birthday bash, a student union at a northern Ontario university is taking their own stance against the celebrations.
Formerly the site of a #residential school, Algoma University’s Sault Ste. Marie campus had grappled with the question of hosting Canada 150 festivities. Last week, in a unanimous decision, the Algoma University Students’ Union voted against sanctioning or endorsing events related to Canada 150. The Algoma University Students’ Union voted unanimously against sanctioning or endorsing events related to Canada 150. Algoma University’s Sault Ste. Marie campus was formerly the site of a residential school. Kassidy Armstrong, a member of the university’s Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association, told CTV Northern Ontario that her group appreciates the support from their fellow students.
“It’s good to have allies because if the government won’t listen to the #indigenous nations across Canada then maybe they’ll step up and listen to the friends we’ve made along all of our journeys,” Armstrong said on Thursday.
The students aren’t the only ones supporting their union’s decision. Algoma University faculty members have also endorsed the move.
Shelia Gruner, an associate professor in the school’s community economic and social development program, said the debate is of special significance for her university.
“As a former residential school it’s super important we have that conversation and students have led that charge and it’s been really important to support them in that,” Gruner said.
The university’s administration released a statement last week, which said that “Canada must continue to address historical issues” and “Algoma University celebrates the ability we have as Canadians to dialogue about our country.”
With a report from CTV Northern Ontario’s Lincoln Louttit
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