Battleford Industrial School Fails to Meet Enrollment Expectations

Since the opening of the Battleford Industrial School in 1883, the school struggled to maintain the expected enrollment numbers. After the North-West Resistance in 1885, enrollment dropped even more meaning the school fell well short of the departmental expectations of 30 girls and 30 boys. Principal Clarke had suspicions that someone was advising the parents to not send their children to the school. It was not uncommon to find girls serving as maids in the principal’s house or for a family in town while they were supposed to be in school and any wages they made were appropriated by the school in addition to the child labor already used to supplement the school. The physical and structural damage that the school facilities suffered during the Resistance and a lack of supplies forced Rev. Clarke (the principal) to turn away some applications from parents who wished to enroll their children. Clarke was able to set up a temporary school and continue teaching in a make-shift school located on the western outskirts of town, but he was unable to enroll the sixty students expected by the department. By the late 1880s the relationship between the school and the local Indigenous communities had soured. When the question of Industrial Schools was brought up it was met with 'universal dissatisfaction' by both parents and children. Complaints leveled at the school included keeping children longer than originally agreed upon, the apparent exploitation of the student body, the inability of parents to remove their children from the school, as well as dietary and medical concerns for the students. In addition to these complaints, by 1890, Rev. Clarke, also came under criticism for his managing of the school staff and his administrative responsibilities. These issues resulted in Rev. Clarke being fired from his position as school principle in 1894.

Date Explanation
The school struggled to maintain the expected enrollment quota from its' opening in 1883 until Rev. Clarke was fired from his position as principle in 1894.
Other Note


Rural or Urban
Start Date
End Date
Sub Event
Rev. T. Clarke Fired as Principle