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The Residential School in St. Paul

Part of the mission was to convert the children of First and Métis nations. The belief was that schooling should assimilate aboriginal children into "Canadian" culture. In the early 1900s, all Aboriginal children between the ages of seven and fifteen were required to go to school.

The Oblates operated the Blue Quills Indian Residential School at Lac La Biche in 1862 and then at Saddle Lake in 1898. The school was eventually relocated five kilometres west of St. Paul.

The residential school system ended when the Canadian government ended its connection with religious schools. After 1969 the government rapidly began closing the remaining residential schools in Canada. Local First Nations people protested the closing of Blue Quills School in 1967. Control of the school was turned over to a First Nations Council.

Blue Quills is now a First Nations college that operates on the principles of Nehiyaw Mamtonecihkan (Indian thought) and Moniyaw Mamtonecihkan (white academic thought). Students can enroll in high school upgrading, computer technology, arts, leadership, and trade programs.

The last Canadian residential school closed its doors in 1986. It was over a century after the first students entered Blue Quills. We now know the negative story of Aboriginal residential schools. The spiritual and physical health of Canada's First Nations and Métis communities was severely damaged. The churches, governments, First Nations, and Métis Nation are working to heal those troubles.

Visit Blue Quills School on the Internet at http://www.bluequills.ca

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