Lebret Indian Residential School


Harold Greyeyes, a student who attended the Lebret Indian Residential School from 1936 to 1944 recalls a typical day in school. The days were long, beginning at 6 am and ending at 9 pm everyday. Activities were strictly regulated due to the influence of principle Fr. DeBretange, a retired colonel from the French Foreign Legion and the second-in-command who was a retired RCMP sergeant. The day's events and tasks were divided into half-hour blocks. The students routinely had prayers, meal times, chores, class room time, and recess.

Harold claims that despite being tough, the men in charge of the school were fair with discipline being harsh but positive. He says that overall, he learned many valuable things from these men. Harold goes on to recall that during their first class of the day, which was religion, the students were told that "the Indians were savages, that [their] parents were smart because they had sent [them] to this school and that [they] owed [their] good fortune to God and country." This demonstrates intentional attempts of the residential school system to internalize shame regarding Indigenous ethnic identity, and was part of the overarching goal of "killing the Indian in the child." Like all residential schools, the students were forbidden from speaking Cree or any other Indigenous languages.