This story about the Kamloops Residental School is hurting my heart in such big way. it just makes me so mad and angry. As a kid I grew up in orphanage. I have seen it all how how kids were treated and the way I was treated.- Petya Lowes–One of The Children of Chernobyl
People call Canada the one of the greatest countries in the world, but we have our faults: slavery, British Home Children, imprisoning the Italian and Japanese during the second world war and the stories of The Residential Schools do not stop. One by one horrible facts come out and as my friend Kyle said: time for the memorials to stop- it’s over due time for fresh drinking water and liveable homes on the reserves etc. These residential schools were not to treat the children of natives better- they were to take the native out of the child and make them white to get rid of the native issues. There is no other answer.– none at all.
We are enlarging the education of the Indian children now growing up to be a reproach to the white population, or made useful members of society and capable of getting an honest and honorable livelihood for themselves and those depending upon them- Kamloops Industrial school-Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
22 Jul 1890, Tue • Page 1
It is very satisfactory to learn, as we do by correspondence in another column, that the Industrial School at Kamloops is succeeding so admirably. This excellent institution, established by a paternal Government to elevate the Indian races, is situated on a lovely spot on the South Thompson River, the buildings themselves being of modern design and admirably suited for the education.
We look far into the future and see the little girls now clustering about the Christian ladies who are teaching them the lessons of life becoming wives and mothers, and eating those truths which are the blessed inheritance of the white man, uplifting and broadening their character and aims; while one need not lie a prophet to predict that the day is not far distant when some of the boys who are now climbing the rough road to learning will emulate their fellows in the Northwest who have made names for themselves in the history of their native land.-Vancouver Daily World
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
22 Jul 1890, Tue
The Kamloops Industrial School was opened, under Roman Catholic administration, in 1890. It became the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system. Enrolment peaked in the early 1950s at 500. In 1910, the principal said that the government did not provide enough money to properly feed the students. In 1924 a portion of the school was destroyed by fire. In 1969, the federal government took over the administration of the school, which no longer provided any classes and operated it as residence for students attending local day schools until 1978, when the residence was closed. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation)
The dilapidated wood-frame school was partly destroyed by fire in 1924 while a new main building was under construction, the structure that still stands today. Additions were made over the years. The exterior walls are made of local red brick with granite chimney caps, coping stones and detailing. Large timber trusses support the shingled roof, while a galvanized iron bell tower dominates the symmetrical design.
1925– An Indian department policy is expressed in the quarter of a million dollar Indian residential school, whose newly-completed brick and granite walls overlook the South Thompson River near Kamloops. Rising from the north bank and commanding a view of the sunny city across the river and of the rolling hills behind, it stands out from a perfect hillside background. Mount St. Paul and Mount St. Peter form a protection from the wind and add a touch of guardianship to the picture.
The Indian school has been designed as a large central educational and training headquarters as distinct from the small and numerous centres of the past. Centralization has succeeded the system of detached local units in British Columbia. Generally, the area from which the pupils will be drawn comprises Penticton, Westbank, Head Lake, Enderby, Salmon Arm, Tappen, Chase, Shuswap, Kamloops, Chu Chua, Davidson’s Creek, Bonaparte, Shulus, Coldwater, Douglas Lake, Quilchena and some points of the Lytton agency.
Two-thirds of the building is completed. In due course a boys’ wing will be added to the present units which consist of the administration building and girls’ wing. The building was designed by the architectural branch of the Indian department. The contractor of the central portion was Mr. Thomas Carson of Vancouver. Claydon Company of Winnipeg constructed the girls’ wing. Exclusive of furnishings, the cost to date rather exceeds $175,000.
The scheme in its entirety will cost approximately $250,000. Rev. Father James Macguire, O.M.I., whose zeal is manifested in every department of the school work, is the principal. The staff will consist of eight sisters of St. Annes, celebrated all over the country for their deep devotion to educating these children. There will also be a male instructor in agriculture and one in trades. The school has been designed under a three unit system, the administration block in the centre, girls’ wing on the east and boys’ wing on the west of brick and tile construction, the salient features of the design are brought out in granite.
Facing the visitor is the eighty-foot dining-room, seating 250. At the north end two rooms have been reserved for workmen’s dining-rooms. Two exits lead into the yard and playground. Next the large dining-room are two sculleries one for girls and the other for boys the former giving access to the minor kitchen wing containing the kitchen itself of 28 by 38 feet, a store, a dairy and pantry. There is nothing above the kitchen and this permits of the maximum amount of additional light and so allows or getting rid of all odours with glazed brick. All walls are lined with white There are also two staff dining rooms on the floor, each 24 by 15 feet.
I’ll never forgive the Catholic ‘ church for what they’ve done to my ‘ people,” said Bill Seward, 76, of Nanaimo. “When I spoke my language, I got ‘ punished, and there were a lot of times I went three or four days without food. That was my punishment,” said the ‘ former band chief. “I had to kneel in the corner, some- ; times all night. That’s how I got bad knees.”
To the immediate west is the boiler room, at a lower level. On the ground floor are the principal’s roomy offices and waiting-room, a parlour and staff rooms. Principal Macguire’s sitting-room and bedroom are here also and there are bathrooms and storerooms on the same floor also. The main corridor gives access to the chapel, as yet unequipped and with seating capacity for 250 and vestry with immediately adjacent two fire- escapes. On the first floor are the boys’ and girls’ infirmaries, with nurses’ rooms, bath, linen and general storerooms, ready for all contingencies. Passing through the connecting link, giving access from the administration building, the visitor finds himself in the girls’ wing. On the semi-basement floor are two staff bedrooms, with connecting bathroom, twelve children’s bathrooms, lavatories and washrooms. Under the recreation room is a particularly well laid out, splendidly equipped laundry and disinfecting room. On the ground floor of this wing are the sisters’ community room, girls’ (senior and junior) sewing-rooms; two large classrooms and four staff bedrooms, with bathrooms and toilets.
The first floor is devoted to dormitories, clothing-rooms and the necessary staff rooms for supervision. On the second floor are dormitories, staff bedrooms and staff duty rooms, so placed as to avoid or minimize supervision over the dormitories. The floors of the lavatories and washrooms are to avoid fires made out of terrazzo. Floors of corridors, dining-rooms, kitchen and stores and dairy are of asphaltic mastic.
Doors and trim generally are of British Columbia fir. Ceilings are of metal. In connection with such an institution the kitchen is of much importance that in this particular connection, one is not surprised to find a huge finely equipped refrigerator plant. Ice-making is also provided for. The water supply is self-contained, coming from the nearby river. Pumps have been installed to take care of both domestic and irrigation supplies. It is expected that another pumping unit will be added In the near future.
Children were forcibly removed from their homes once attendance became mandatory by law in the 1920s, with their parents under threat of prison if they refused. The children were not allowed to speak their native language nor practise their own spirituality. Many children ran away and some disappeared and died.
The farming land in connection with the school is approximately 160 acres, all capable of cultivation. Here are growing in profusion: Alfalfa corn beets potatoes, cabbages, while and vegetables. There are eighty head of cattle, many horses and hogs, turkeys and chickens by the hundred. There is a very fine barn, also carpenter and blacksmith shops, poultry houses, root and vegetable cellars. Here boys receive instruction in agriculture and such training as will enable them to carry out the necessary farming operations on their own land some day.
Girls’ training includes instruction in all domestic problems, including cooking, making butter, preserving fruits and vegetables, all branches of sewing and knitting and that general knowledge of domestic economy which will make them good Indian housewives of the future. At the beginning of September there will be about 150 pupils in residence. The complete scheme will afford accommodation to at least 250
A former student, who asked not to be named, said one of the brothers would come into the dorm two to three nights per week. He would crawl into bed with the boys, ‘ kissing and fondling them’. “When we heard him coming we’d say, who’s going to get it tonight?’ It was terrible,” said the man, who was molested by the brother.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
24 Mar 1920, Wed • Page 2
Did you know?
“The ‘Heathen’ School opposite the Carleton Place Baptist Church is now in operation.”
What was a ‘Heathen School’? Was it a school dealing in Wicca? Is that where the Witches of Rochester Street got their education? The ‘Heathen School’ was built, in part, to convert the world through seeded evangelism. Carleton Place was not the only town that had one. People from so-called “heathen” nations would attend, learn to spread the gospel. Sons of some of the most prominent Aboriginal leaders of the time (many of mixed ancestry) received their education at the Foreign Mission School in Conn., later becoming distinguished members of their nations. It seems that Carleton Place felt it needed its own.
Of the native Indians who a 180 years ago had been almost the sole inhabitants of the Lanark and Renfrew area, only a few stragglers still remained in Lanark County in the late 1800s.–read The Heathen School in Carleton Place — Salem’s Lot?