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Shirley Horn

Outside Eye

Shirley Fletcher Horn is the first chancellor of Algoma
University. Born in Chapleau, Ontario Horn attended the St. John’s Indian Residential School (Chapleau, Ontario) and the Shingwauk Indian Residential School (Sault Ste Marie, Ontario). She is well known for her advocacy work relating to the legacy of residential schools in Canada. She is a member of
Missanabie Cree First Nation and she served as Missanabie’s Chief for six years.

Horn is from Chapleau, Ontario, and at the age of five was sent to St. Johns Indian Residential School. She was then transferred to the Shingwauk Indian Residential School at the age of seven, where she remained for six years. In 1981, she helped found the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA), a constructive organization that has been a leader at the national level on the residential school issue. She remained in a leadership position with the organization for 34 years.

In 2005, Horn returned to the Shingwauk Indian School Residential School site – now the home of Algoma University – to enroll in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. As a rare graduate of both the Residential School and the University, she received a standing ovation at Convocation in 2009. In 2015, she received the Alumni Achievement Award from the Algoma University Alumni Council.

Horn is also Co-Founder of the Echoes of the World Drum Festival, a former member of the Shingwauk Education Trust. 

She is also well known Cree artist and her artistic work has been exhibited both locally and provincially. In 2009, Shirley and her sister Jackie Fletcher founded the Echoes of the World Drum Festival in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.She was one of the artists selected to participate in the Project of Heart commemoration initiative. Her sculptural contribution to this project is installed in the East Wing of Algoma University.

Since 2015 Shirley has been working with the Soulpepper theater company on their imagiNation initiative. Playwright Falen Johnson is currently working on a play chronicling the life of Horn in context of the history of Residential Schools in Canada.

In 2016, Horn worked with Donna Hilsinger and Malgorzata Nowacka-May, Artistic Director of The Chimera Project, to create “Bears Stars and Trees” an interpretive dance art piece reflecting on the seven grandfather teachings.

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