Inspector Report on Runaways and Potential Fire Threat to St. Albans Indian Residential School


In 1946, Inspector Ostrander of the Department of Indian Affairs submitted a report on St. Albans Indian Residential School. This report claimed that the building interiors and the student housing were unsuitable and that "because of narrow corridors or dry, inflammable material and not easy access to fire escapes or the stairway" it would be a safety hazard should a fire occur. The report also notes that the school is overcrowded, and that there is insufficient space for recreation purposes. According to Ostrander, the lack of playing grounds and poor supervision are to be blamed for truancy among the boys. In conclusion, Ostrander points out that the children were well fed, well clothed, and receiving some education, but advises that the school should not stay open much longer if the necessary renovations are not undertaken.

The issues found at St. Albans reflect a wide scale pattern across Residential Schools, where conditions of the school were known to be subpar or dangerous to life at the school, yet officials would not take corrective action to solve the problem. This behaviour showed a lack of concern for the well being of Indigenous students, showing that the government was less concerned with the success of Indigenous peoples. Rather, the government used Residential Schools to segregate and control a large portion of the Indigenous population for colonial gain.