Darrell Boissoneau receives the President’s Award from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce on January 20. Pictured from left to right: Garden River First Nation Chief Paul Syrette; Paul Johnson; Darrell Boissoneau; Rory Ring, Chamber of Commerce CEO; and Anshumali Dwivedi, Port of Algoma. Photo by Kevanna Photo.

GARDEN RIVER FIRST NATION (January 23, 2018)—Chief Paul Syrette, on behalf of the Elders, Council and citizens of Garden River First Nation, extends congratulations to Darrell Boissoneau on receiving the President’s Award from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce on January 20 in Sault Ste. Marie, ON.

The award recognizes someone who has made exceptional effort and going above and beyond the call of duty in the area of business and community development, an award that is not necessarily given out annually.

“We believe this distinguished award exemplifies Darrell’s life-long work of leadership in fostering positive relationships within the Bawating area and indeed across the Turtle Island,” stated Chief Paul Syrette. “We want to thank the Chamber for recognizing an outstanding and respected citizen from our community.”

A visionary in cultural based education, Boissoneau was instrumental in crafting the Covenant between Algoma University College and Shingwauk Education Trust; led the development of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (Teaching Lodge) an accredited Anishinabe university by the World Indigenous Nations of Higher Education (WINHEC); was the principal lead in securing $10.2 million for the state of the art Anishinabek Discovery Center, an emerging research and archive center; and was part of a team of Indigenous Institutions on the co-creation of the Indigenous Institutions Act 2017 legislation that recognizes Indigenous Institutions to govern and operate in a cultural safe environment with the Province of Ontario. Through Shingwauk and AlgomaU, Boissoneau was pivotal in advancing the work for Anishinabe Studies to become an imminent three-year degree program on the former site of Shingwauk Residential School.

“We applaud the Chamber in this great honor that truly recognizes the extraordinary volunteer work that Darrell has done in his life-long journey in building partnerships and sharing the importance of reconciliation,” stated Chief Syrette.

Boissoneau is also credited for forging a new relationship with the Port of Algoma in the historic signing of the ‘Reconciliation and Prosperity Accord’ with Garden River First Nation and the ‘Unity Pact’ amongst the Ojibway leadership along the north shore. This is another tangible effort of the ability of Boissoneau to bring people together and work towards a common and shared goal.

“We join the Chamber of Commerce in celebrating all the award winners in the different categories and we are excited and honored by the Presidents Award given to a well deserving, hardworking and respected citizen from our community who demonstrates how reconciliation can work for all of us,” added Chief Syrette.