Residential Schools

Crooked Lake Agency at the Turn of the 19th Century

This entry concerns the history of the Crooked Lake Agency from 1880s to 1913. This history is told from the viewpoint of the colonial authorities who controlled the Agency. Furthermore, this entry concerns four bands that were located on Crooked Lake at this time. These bands are as follows: Ochapowace (#71), Kake-wista-haw (#72), O'Soup or Cowessess (#73) and Sakimay (#74). The general observations made by Dr. D.G.

Government Attempts to Assimilate Indigenous Women

According to many DIA publications, Indigenous women were believed to be at fault for the conditions and poor health on reserves. This led the agents to believe that Indigenous women needed to be 'domesticated' in ways that served the colonial government and motives. Girls were not taught any skills that would be of value to them outside of the home. Schools focused on teaching Indigenous girls how to be successful housewives.

Construction of Fort Qu'Appelle Indian Hospital

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, tuberculosis was sweeping across the Canadian Prairies, resulting in many deaths. Periodic but severe famines were also documented in several communities. During this period of time, theories of social Darwinism and racial evolution informed the perspective of many health professionals and policy makers in Ottawa, impacting how they treated Indigenous people who had contracted tuberculosis. In the 1930s, sanatorium directors and government medical personnel warned of the threat of "Indian tuberculosis" spreading to white communities.

Tuberculosis at Duck Lake/St. Michael's Residential School

In 1910, a local Indian Agent noted, "about one-half of the children sent to Duck Lake Boarding School, die before the age 18, or very shortly afterwards." The Indian Agent remarked, "[the students] are kept in a building whose every seam and crevice is, doubtless, burdened with Tuberculosis." In response to this outbreak of Tuberculosis, the One Arrow and Beardy bands requested their children be sent to day schools. The Department of Indian Affairs refused these requests and asked an Inspector to open an investigation into the matter.

Principal Hugonard Advocates for Better Construction, Heating and Ventilation at Lebret/Qu'Appelle Industrial School

In a letter to the department of Indian Affairs (17 Sept 1895), medical doctor M.M. Seymour, having examined the Qu’Appelle Industrial School, critiqued a number of aspects of its construction in light of the need to prevent the spread of tuberculosis. The complaints centered on insufficient dorm size, poor ventilation and poor heating and were described as follows: “The boys dormitory is also about four times too small for the number of boys who sleep in it.

Qu'Appelle Industrial School

The Qu'Appelle Industrial School was built in 1884 to fulfill one of the conditions of Treaty 4, which had been signed 10 years earlier. It was the first residential school in the west, and Father Joseph Hugonard was the first principal. This was likely because Lebret/Qu'Appelle was established as the main centre of Catholicism for the Metis and First Nations people in the region - Lebret/Qu'Appelle had been a Catholic mission since 1865. There were fifteen students in attendance the first year. The Grey Nuns of Montreal served as teachers at the school until 1975.

Removal of Principal Matheson from Battleford Industrial School

According to a letter from the Superintendent General of the DIA to Martin Benson (4 Sept 1907), Principal Rev. Matheson was being asked to resign or be removed from Battleford Industrial school. Although the letter discloses that Principal Matheson was not managing the school’s finances according to the expectations of the DIA, it also mentions “he has been a failure in other directions, and if the school is to be filled up to its full complement on October 1, it seems to me that that would be the proper date to make the change of principals and that the Church should compensate Mr.