Shirley Sanderson

Residential School Survivor and Musician,

Shirley Charlotte (Sanderson) Constant, 77 years old, of the James Smith Cree Nation. Shirley is a Residential School Survivor and attended Gordon’s Residential School from the age of 7 to her teen years where she was transferred to the All Saint Residential School in Prince Albert. She resided in James Smith until she moved away to become a hairdresser and worked away from home. Shirley started her family and pursued a social work certificate at SIFC. 

Shirley has 4 grown children, grandchildren and chapans. Shirley resides in Edmonton, AB., where she works on a variety of crafts with herself and the family business. She can make such crafts as; painting, clocks, large floral shields, painted frying pans, and mainly teepees. Shirley says that she gained her interest in crafting around the time she was a social work student at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. It was through a required class (Cultural Camp) that she “got hooked” on the art of crafting. She has taught numerous groups with her crafting knowledge. 

For the last 10 years, Shirley has become a kokum to many youths in the Bold Eagle Program. She became an Elder in the program and quickly learned the importance of helping the youth to succeed in the program. She has become a lifelong kokum to many youths. 

In her spare time, Shirley loves to sing. Shirley started singing at a very young age and when she was a teen, she won a talent show called the “CKBI Talent Show with Jack Cennon”, where a lot of singing opportunities arose from this event. Shirley continues to sing and write songs, and her children are fundraising to have her recorded for a CD before she retires.