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Western Oblate Studies 2

Procliaming The Gospel to the Indians and the MétisResidential schooling at fort chipewyan and fort resolution 1874-1974

Robert Carney, Professor
Faculty of Education
University of Alberta



Robert Carney, "Residential schooling at fort chipewyan and fort resolution 1874-1974" in Western Oblate Studies 2 / Études Oblates de l'Ouest 2. The Edwin Mellen Press Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter, 1992. Reprinted with the permission of the author and publisher.


1 (Retour à l'article) See Jacqueline Kennedy, "Qu'Appelle Industrial School. White 'Rites' for the Indians of the Old North-West, M. A. thesis, Carleton, 1970; Diane Persson, "Blue Quills: A Case Study of Indian Residential Schooling," Ph. D. thesis, University of Alberta, 1980; E. B. Titley, A Narrow Vision: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Administration of Indian Affairs in Canada (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1986), pp. 75-93; C. Haig-Brown, Resistance and Renewal: Surviving the Indian Residential School (Vancouver: TiJlicum Library, 1988); and J. R. Miller, Skyscapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations in Canada (rev. ed.; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989) pp. 195-199.

2 (Retour à l'article) George Caldwell, Indian Residential School Survey (Ottawa: Canadian Welfare Council, 1967); H. B. Hawthorn, A Survey of the Indians of Canada, vol. 2 (Ott.awa: Indian Affairs Branch, 1967); and 1. S. Frideres, Native People in Canada: Contemporary Conflicts (2nd. ed. ; Scarborough: Prentice-Hall, 1974).

3 (Retour à l'article) 'Man Alive," CBC, 10 and 17 January 1989; Globe and Mail, "Death Cast Shadow at Boarding School for Indian Children," 15 November, 1990, A-1; Calgary Herald, "Mission of Mercy," 8 January 1991, B-1; "The 5th Estate," CBC, 9 January 1991; "The Shirley Show," CTV "Unspoken Secrets," 22 February 1991 (transcript); and Edmonton Journal, "The Schools That Taught White From Wrong," 2 June 1991, A-I.

4 (Retour à l'article) Robert Carney, "The Native-Wilderness Equation: Catholic and Other School Orientations in the Western Arctic," Study Sessions, Canadian Catholic Historical Association, [hereafter CCHAJ, 48 (1981), pp. 61-78.

5 (Retour à l'article) Robert Carney, ''The Grey Nuns and the Children of Holy Angels: Fort Chlpewyan, 1874-1924," in Proceedings of the Fort Chipewyan and Fort Vermilion Bicententlial Conference, ed. by P. A. McCormack and R. Geoffrey Ironside (Edmonton: Boreal Institute for Northern Studies University of Alberta, 1990), p. 293.

6 (Retour à l'article) Benjamin Marcel (a Fort Chipewyan hunter, trapper and fisherman), presentation (translated by Pat Marcel) to Fort Chipewyan / Fort Vermilion Bicentennial Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, 23 September 1988. A synopsis of his talk, "How We Survived Long Ago," is to be found in Proceedings of the Fort Chipewyan and Fort Vermilion Bicentennial Conference, p. 40.

7 (Retour à l'article) For a discussion of the federal government's program of integrated schooling, see Robert Carney, "The Hawthorn Survey (1966-1967), Indians and Oblates and Integrated Schooling," Study Sessions, CCHA, 50 (1983), pp. 609 - 630.

8 (Retour à l'article) National Indian Brotherhood, Indian Control of Indian Education (Ottawa: N. I. B. , 1972).

9 (Retour à l'article) Thomas Berger, Northern Frontier Northern Homeland: The Report of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry, vol. 1 (Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services, 1977).

10 (Retour à l'article) Martha McCarthy, "The Founding of Providence Mission," in Western Oblate Studies I / Etudes Oblates de l’Ouest I, ed. by R. Huel (Edmonton:Western Canadian Publishers, 1990), p. 42.

11 (Retour à l'article) Personal communication, Father Henri Posset, OMI, (Fort Norman), May 27, 1991.

12 (Retour à l'article) Archives of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, Yellowknife [hereafter ADM], Milton Martin Files, IT; C. Stewart to M. Martin, ? April 1928.

13 (Retour à l'article) ADM, Indian Affairs File, G. Breynat to C. Stewart, 25 May 1928.

14 (Retour à l'article) ADM, Extracts from the Codex Historicus, Nativity Mission Chipewyan, I, pp. 56-58.

15 (Retour à l'article) National Archives of Canada [hereafter NAC], Records of the Department of Indian Affairs, Black Series, RG 10, vol. 398, petition to the Minister of the Interior from Camoelle, Ennun, and Tiakees (Fort Resolution) 16 July 1901.

16 (Retour à l'article) Treaties 6 and 7 contain essentially the same schooling clause: "And, Her Majesty agrees to maintain schools for instruction in such reserves hereby made as to Her Government of the Dominion of Canada may seem advisable, whenever the Indians of the reserve shall desire it." Copy of Treaty No.6, 28 August 1976 (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1964); and, "Further, Her Majesty agrees to pay the salary of such teachers to instruct the children of said Indians as to Her Government of Canada may seem advisable, when said Indians are settled on their reserves and shall desire teachers." Copy of Treaty No.7, 22 September and 4 December 1877, reprinted from the edition of 1877 (Ottawa; Queen's Printer, 1966), p. 5.

17 (Retour à l'article) Treaty No.8, 21 June 1899, reprinted from the 1899 edition (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1969), p. 13.

18 (Retour à l'article) ADM, Breynat Papers, Extracts from the Codex Historicus, Nativity Mission Chipewyan, I, pp. 56-58.

19 Treaty No. 11, 27 June 1921, reprint of 1926 edition (Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1969), p. 13.

20 (Retour à l'article) Breynat's persistent representations to the territorial government to obtain boarding school grants for Métis, Inuit and white children finally met with some success in January 1923 when subsidies were authorized for eight Métis pupils at St. Joseph's, Resolution. Territorial Archives Unclassified, Ottawa, O. Finnie to W. Cory, 26 January 1923. According to the "Application for Admission to Residential School" (N. W. T. Form 27-2, 1927), a child was eligible for a subsidy only if he or she had been certified by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and the District Agent (territorial government) as "an orphan, destitute or neglected child and not eligible for admission under the Indian Act." The same form was used in the Territories as late as 1954. Ibid.

21 (Retour à l'article) Despite frequent appeals by the Oblates at Chipewyan that the Province of Alberta help with the cost of educating Métis and white pupils, the Alberta government refused to pay any boarding school grants unless the children had been formally apprehended by child welfare authorities. ADM, Fort Chipewyan File, 1. Brownlee to G. Breynat, 21 May 1929.

22 (Retour à l'article) About eighty interviews of former Holy Angels and St. Joseph's students have been conducted for an article on the early years (1874-1924) of Holy Angels (see supra, footnote no. 5, and for an ongoing, comprehensive study of the Roman Catholic residential schools in Fort Providence, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Resolution and Aklavik and church-operated pupil residences (hostels) in Fort Simpson (Lapointe Hall), Inuvik (Grollier Hall), and Fort Smith (Breynat Hall and Grandin College). References to the testimony of graduates of Holy Angels and St. Joseph's are made in this paper, but no designation of source is given other than for direct quotations. Because of promises of confidentiality made by the writer, the identities of the interviewees quoted are not given in the footnotes unless transcripts of the interviews have been published. Code designations, such as Y-2, have therefore been used to ensure the informant's privacy.

23 (Retour à l'article) Archives Soeurs Grises de Montreal, Maison-Mere, Montreal, Quebec [ASGMJ, Providence Historique, doc. ii, V. Grandin to J. HainaultDeschamps, 3 May 1862.

24 (Retour à l'article) Archange J. Brady, A History of Fort Chipewyan (Athabasca: Gregorach Printing, 1985), p. 66.

25 (Retour à l'article) ASGM, Providence Historique, cix, 2-3, A. Lecorre et al (the letter was signed by three priests and five Oblate brothers) to H. Faraud, 28 June 1881.

26 (Retour à l'article) ASGM, Resolution Historique, iii, 1-3, G. Breynat to Mother General, 19 February, 1902.

27 ASGM, Resolution Historique, "Recit de la Fondation de Fort Resolution," ii, 4, Sister R. A. McQuillan (one of the school's founders) n.d.

28 (Retour à l'article) Virginie Calumet, "The Mission," in An Oral History of the Fort Resolution Elders: That's the Way We Lived, ed. by G. Beaulieu (Yellowknife: Culture and Communications, Government of the Northwest Territories, 1987), p. 21.

29 (Retour à l'article) George Sanderson, "The Mission," Ibid. , p. 25.

30 (Retour à l'article) The percentage attendance figure is based on statistics in the Annual Report of the Department of Mines and Resources, (Indian Affairs Branch) [hereafter ARDMR), 1939, pp. 223, 266-267 and ibid, 1942, p. 150; Glenbow Institute, Calgary, Note lOM-1826 BE 31, 1939, Indian Affairs Branch pay lists, Cree and Chipewyan Bands, June 30, 1931 and ADM, School Pupi1lage Authorization Files, 1900-1950.

31 (Retour à l'article) See infra, footnote no. 40.

32 (Retour à l'article) Proverbs 12: 6.

33 (Retour à l'article) Y-2, see supra, footnotes no. 22.

34 (Retour à l'article) Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs [ARDIA) (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1911), p. 440.

35 (Retour à l'article) For reports on the prevalence of tuberculosis in the schools, see .ASGM Resolution Historique, xxxiv, Sister Saint-Omer (Fort Résolution) ,to Mother Piche 14 December 1931; Minutes of the Northwest Territories [Minutes], IV: 1125, Dr. F. Stone "Report on Tuberculosis", 7 December 1937; and G. 1. Wherett, "Health Conditions and Services in the .NorthWest," in The New North-West ed. by C. A. Dawson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1947), pp. 146-147.

36 (Retour à l'article) See supra, footnote no. 20.

37 (Retour à l'article) Record Centre, Government of Canada, Ottawa, Northern Affairs and National Resources [hereafter NANR], File 600-4, I-A, I-A, MacLean to Finnie, 12 December 1922.

38 (Retour à l'article) P-1, see supra, footnote no. 22.

39 (Retour à l'article) Bella Trindell recaIIing the comments of PhiIIip Lafferty, a Fort Simpson elder, cited in Lanny Cooke, Liidli Koe- Two Rivers of Faith (Yellowknife: Native Communications Society of the Western Arctic, n. d. ), p. 23.

40 (Retour à l'article) Time-in-school figures are based on a detailed study of the register of Holy Angels from 1874 to 1974 and a more cursory examination of registrations in the same school from 1925 to 1945. Archives des Soeurs Grises, Edmonton, Registre, Chipewyan, Alberta, Eleves de 1874-1974. Fort Resolution time-in-school figures are based on an examination of the school's register from 1903 to 1949. ADM, Fort Resolution, Pensionnat Admissions.

41 (Retour à l'article) ARDIA, years ending June 30, 1906 and March 31, 1939 (Ottawa: Queen's [King's] Printer).

42 (Retour à l'article) Ibid., years ending June 30, 1899 to June 30,1906 and March 31, 1907 to March 31,1924 (Ottawa: Queen's [King's] Printer.

43 (Retour à l'article) Y-13, see supra, note no. 22.

44 (Retour à l'article) Y-28, see supra, footnote no. 22.

45 George Sanderson, "The Mission," in An Oral History of the Fort Resolution Elders; p. 21; Y-40 [Fort Chipewyan], see supra, footnote no. 22.

46 (Retour à l'article) Daily Register for Recording the Attendance of Indian School Pupils (Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, n.d.), n. p. The directive is taken from the text of a register in use at the Fort Providence residential schoolin 1945 - 1946.

47 (Retour à l'article) See, for instance, Christianson to McGill, NAC, RG 10, File 755-5, part 1, vol. 6354, "Report on Holy Angels School," 27 February 1935.

48 (Retour à l'article) Breynat's comments were given in a mimeographed article written in March 1935, which he enclosed in a letter to his old friend Milton Martin in 1945. ADM, Martin File, VII, G. Breynat to M. Martin, 14 November 1945.

49 (Retour à l'article) ADM, Commission oblate des oeuvres indiennes et esquimaudes [hereafter COOlEl, G. Breynat to J. Plourde, 12 October 1939.

50 (Retour à l'article) ADM, Écoles Indiennes, "Convention de Principaux des Écoles Indiennes," August 1927, n.p.

51 (Retour à l'article) Ibid., Écoles Indiennes, G. Breynat to J. Guy, 1 May 1940.

52 (Retour à l'article) For a discussion of the establishment of public schools in Yellowknife and Fort Smith, see Robert Carney "Relations in Education Between the Federal and Territorial Governments and the Roman Catholic Church in the MacKenzie District, Northwest Territories, 1867-1961," Ph. D. thesis, University of Alberta, 1971, pp. 277-288 and 299-305.

53 (Retour à l'article) Maureen Clarke, "The History of Education in Fort Chipewyan," in Proceedings of the Fort Chipewyan and Fort Vermilion Bicentennial Conference, p. 236.

54 (Retour à l'article) Andrew Moore, "Report of an Educational Survey Conducted in the Mackenzie District of the Canadian Northwest Territories During the Months of July and August, 1944," Education Office, NANR, Fort Smith, N.W.T., November 1944 (typed copy).

55 (Retour à l'article) Annual Report of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources [ANANRJ, 1954, p. 20.

56 (Retour à l'article) ADDMR. 1946, pp. 84-86. For an expanded version of the integration principle, see "Human Problems in the Canadian North," ANANR. 1955, pp. 9-20.

57 (Retour à l'article) ADM, COOlE files, G. de Bretagne to G. Voisin, 27 August 1967, p. 10.

58 (Retour à l'article) Ibid.

59 (Retour à l'article) Personal communication, Father Jean Porte, 19 June 1990; and discussion with Sister __ (S-24, see supra, footnote no. 22) a supervisor during the school's final years.

60 (Retour à l'article) Clermont Bourget, Douze ans chez les Sauvages: au Grand-Lac des Esc/aves, comme medecin et agelll des lndiens (Montreal: L'Imprimerie Modele, 1938), pp. 212-213.

61 (Retour à l'article) "Education Goes North", reprint published in the Canadian Geographical Journal, 42 (January, 1951), pp. 44-49.

62 (Retour à l'article) Statutes of Canada, 20-21, Geo. V, c. 25, s. 3 (1930); School Ordinance of the Northwest Territories, c. 75 ss. 144 - 148 (1901); and Family Allowances: A Children's Charter (Ottawa: Department of National Health and Welfare, n. d.), items 8, 22, 23, 22, and 34.

63 (Retour à l'article) Joseph Katz, "Educational Environments of School-Hostel Complexes in the Northwest Territories," submitted to Chief, Education Division, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources, (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 1965).

64 (Retour à l'article) George Caldwell, "Indian Residential School Study," prepared for Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Ottawa: Canadian Welfare Council, 1967), pp. 56-64.

65 (Retour à l'article) See supra, footnote no. 50.

66 M. Clarke, "The History of Education in Fort Chipewyan," in Proceedings of the Fort Chipewyan and Fort Vermilion Bicentennial Conference, p. 236. The three authorities were the Northland School Division, Indian Affairs and the Roman Catholic School Board.

67 (Retour à l'article) J. Katz, "Educational Environments," pp. 42 and 48.

68 (Retour à l'article) Edmonton Journal, "The Last Frontier," 10 February 1964, p. 34.

69 (Retour à l'article) Hilary Fulton, The Melting Snowman: The Canadian Indian Residence as a Place to Live and Grow (Ottawa: Student Residence Services, Education Branch, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, 1971).

70 (Retour à l'article) Bishop Paul Piche, OMI, after protracted discussions with the territorial government, ended the church's management of Breynat Hall in June 1971. ADM, Breynat Hall Files, P. Piche to J. Parker, 3 October 1972. As noted earlier, Holy Angels was closed in 1974.

71 (Retour à l'article) Robert Camey, "Indian Control of Indian Education," Indian Ed. [Canadian Journal of Native Education], 3 (Winter, 1978), pp. 2-3.

72 (Retour à l'article) C. Berger, Northern Frontier Northern Homeland, pp. 205-206.

73 (Retour à l'article) For examples of the alliance between northern research and the government's policy of integration, see Social Science Research Abstracts, 1959-1965 (Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, NANR, 1966), NCRC-2.

74 (Retour à l'article) Donald Grinde, "Private Philantrophy and American Indian Reform: The Rockefeller Example," Research Reports From the Rockefeller Archive Center (Spring 1991), p. 7.

75 (Retour à l'article) Mackenzie Pipeline Valley Pipeline Inquiry, Proceedings at Community Hearings (Burnaby, B.C.: Allwest Reporting, 1976), vol. 156, 1 July 1976, pp. 23924-23925.

76 (Retour à l'article) C. Berger, Northern Frontier Northern Homeland, p. 86.

77 (Retour à l'article) Michael Asch, "The Future of Hunting and Trapping and Economic Development in Alberta’s North: Some Facts and Myths About Inevitability, In Proceedings of the Fort Chipewyan and Fort Vermilion Bicentennial Conference, p. 28.

78 (Retour à l'article) Ibid., p. 25.

79 (Retour à l'article) Joanne. Barnaby et al; Rhetoric and Reality: Education and Work in Changing Denendeh (Waterloo, Ontario: University of S1. Jerome's College, 1991), p. 145.


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