Early to Late 20th Century Demographics at Beauval Indian Residential School

The Beauval boarding school continued to educate Indigenous students from surrounding communities until its closure in 1983. In the 1980s, students were attending from areas including Flying Dust, Waterhen, Ministikwan, Makwa Saghaiehcan and Joseph Bighead. In 1963, six classrooms were added. In 1974, the school was extended to include high school education, and the first grade 12 graduates were produced in 1978. In 1979, the Department of Indian Affairs added a gym, library, and science lab. By the time the school closed in 1983, it was considered highly technologically advanced with 28 typewriters, 12 computers, and 2 word processors. The school stated that it had graduated 134 students at the high school level, 100 of them with complete high school diplomas. Past students of the school pursued careers such as mine lab tech, mill operator, security staff, chiefship, band councillor, teacher, municipal policing, clerical staffing, dental assistants, educational counselling. One student was noted to become a lawyer.-------------------- The school is recorded as having various forms of recreational activities available. Sport participation available at the school included hockey, soccer, cross-country running and other track and field events. The sports teams enjoyed marked success at the provincial level and the school is recorded as being well-known for its hockey players. Student councils and other clubs and activities were also available at both the school and residence.-------------------- Religious beliefs formed the basis of the educational curriculum at the school until its closure in 1983. Between 1919 and 1934, 30 young men were trained for the priesthood at this institution.--------------------- On July 1, 1984, the Meadow Lake bands assumed responsibility for overall administration of the school. The ten chiefs of this group had previously served as Beauval's school board. At the time of the transition, the bands assumed powers similar to a school division. The intent was to turn the school into an educational centre that could be used by the entire district for various purposes.

There is a notable absence of science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) students, or other professionals being produced by this school, despite being described as “highly technologically advanced.” Although the number of Indigenous students entering the blue-collar workforce is undoubtedly higher than in the early to mid 1900s, it would still be dramatically lower than the number of non-Indigenous students entering STEM disciplines or other professional career tracks in the same time period.-------------------- As well, the requirement of students to attend classes or services of religious instruction represents continued attempts at cultural assimilation, with the imposition of Catholic teaching to the exclusion of Indigenous philosophy. This was carried out with the implicit understanding that Indigenous religious philosophies or lifeways are considered inferior to more bureaucratic/organized and “sophisticated” or “highly developed” forms of religious belief such as Catholicism.
Rural or Urban
Start Date
End Date
Sub Event
Expansion to Include Secondary Education; Number of High School Graduates; Implementation of Technology