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John Maclean's efforts on the Kainai (Blood) reserve were constantly being questioned by his superiors. They thought he spent too much NWMPtime on his own studies (he made cultural observations, wrote several books and a Blackfoot grammar during his years in the south) and were displeased with his inability to secure funding and materials, which hindered the construction of a church and central graveyard.

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Dunbow Industrial SchoolAlthough the church and graveyard were eventually built, Maclean's most important legacy for the Kainai mission was perhaps his crusade against government practices that he argued were unfair to Aboriginal people. The destitution of the people around him was of great concern and he, consequently, supported the establishment of residential schools. When Frs. Legal and Lacombe visited the reserve in search of students he wrote:

I cannot with my present opinions and feelings oppose them. I hope they will succeed in getting some to go to school . . .  May the good Spirit lead us each into the true path, and show us the way by the true light.

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