Stories of Anishinaabe Resilience (SOAR) Project


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. There are five components to this project: 

  1. Research report on St. Joseph’s Residential School
  2. Curriculum development (Elementary & Secondary level)
  3. Permanent artwork installation (5 portraits of survivors AND 3 murals)
  4. A podcast series (to celebrate survivors stories of resilience) and;
  5. A (virtual) launch


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 and a curriculum.


Research report:

A research assistant has been hired and will conduct research on the establishment, location and movement, policies and everyday goings-on, and the closure and tearing down of St. Joseph's Residential School, as well as testimonials and records of survivor experiences there. This research may include accessing archival resources held by the City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Museum, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Shingwauk Residential School, and Department of Indian/Aboriginal/Indigenous and Northern Affairs, as well as secondary source material online and at Lakehead University and Thunder Bay Public Libraries. 


Curriculum development:

When the research report is complete, TBPL will be seeking an educator to create two unit plans containing 8-10 lesson plans. One for an elementary grade level and one for a secondary grade level and tailored for use in Thunder Bay schools. Once completed, the unit plans will be available for free download on the library’s website.


The SOAR project will 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. 


Permanent artwork installation:

TBPL is currently seeking Indigenous artists to create portraits of participating residential school survivors and the murals will depict the resilience of Indigenous people throughout the residential school era. The portraits will be permanently installed at Brodie Resource Library and will become part of the Library’s permanent art collection.

Access the application here.


Podcast series:

The most important piece is connecting with residential school survivors. TBPL is currently seeking St. Joseph's Residential School survivors to interview for the podcast series. The SOAR podcast series will honour residential school survivors and celebrates their life's work and achievements.  We will be providing an honorarium to survivors as well as a mental health support worker for the podcast interview.


Virtual launch:

To be announced


Please contact Robyn Medicine at 345-8275 ext. 7252 / if you’d like more information or would be willing to participate in the Stories of Anishinaabe Resilience project.


Thank you to our partners & supporters:

ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL)

Dr. Adar Charlton

Journalists for Human Rights

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

Thunder Bay Catholic Schools


This project is being funded by Canada Heritage for Commemorating the History and Legacy of Residential Schools

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