Written in the interests of the Presbyterial of Lanark and Renfrew, and addressed to the members of the Women’s Missionary Society by Miss Jessie Comrie, of Carleton Place.
In a treaty made with our Dominion Government and made with the Indians.
In 1871 there was the promise of schools for their children; to fulfill that promise our Government has undertaken a share in this work and recognizing the necessity of giving the Indians an education under Christian influences gave over the work to the different churches.
The churches have taken a part in the educational work among the Indians, believing that it would afford them an opening for Christian work among these people. The church expects the school to make the Christian work the centre and soul of all the training and teaching of every department. To lose sight of this purpose would be to not only fail In carrying out the plan of our church, but to fail in doing the Indian children any real good.
In 1866 mission work for the Indians was begun by the Presbyterian church among tribes that were untouched by any church, and in 1876 the women of our church were organized for missionary work and since then have supported teachers in the mission-schools for the Indian children.
The spiritual growth is slow as in all pagan lands, but steady advance has been made and present results are largely attributed to the secular and religious training the children have received in our schools. The teaching of the Bible each day and in Sabbath schools, morning and evening family ’ worship and thehourly,- association with Christian workers are no small factors in training our Indian boys and girls for Christian citizenship.
There are 550 children under our care in the day and boarding schools. It is the opinion of our workers among these people that the boarding school is the best adapted to give the boys and girls a thorough education and best results so far have come from these schools.
Some of the day schools are semi boarding schools, for the children to come long distances. The Government has given an allowance that provides them with a mid-day meal which the missionary teachers make ready with the help of the older children.
Two of the boarding schools are in Manitoba, two of them in Saskatchewan, two in British Columbia and one In Ontario, named the “Cecilia Jeffrey” in memory of one of our secretaries in Indian work in the early years.This school is forty-five miles from the town of Kenora. In these schools each child, with the consent of the parents, is signed into the school and remains there until he or she is eighteen years of age.
They study the public school course. The older boys and girls spend only half of each day in the school room, the other half they are being taught to do useful work, and helping to do the work of the institution. The aim is to give them industrial work that will be most useful in after life, the boys to till the ground, and the girls to cook wholesome food and tend to a family.
To be in a position to give this industrial training a few years ago, the Government made a number of new regulations, requiring more accommodation in all boarding schools as well as sufficient land around the school to make such a training possible; it being the wish of the Government that sooner or later all the children be sent to a boarding school where a better industrial training is possible than in the day school. Our Woman’s Missionary Society has made it possible for the children to be kept in school by sending clothing for them every year. This supply work by the women of the Church, has been responded to generously, remembering our Master’s words:
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these ye have done it unto Me.”
But what is being done for the Indians by Church and State is only a just debt and should never be considered in the light of charity.The fruits of our mission work are seen to-day in the second generation of Indian youth who are entering our schools. Misa McGregor, our field secretary, who taught for eight years in an Indian school, urges us to “Go forward doing what we can to further this work,” because of what has been achieved in the past, and because of its possibilities. Our missionaries have had the joy of seeing many of the young accept a Saviour, who is not of the white man’s , alone, but the Indians, too. Their vision in the not far distant future is a rising generation of Christian Indian citizens in a land once theirs now ours and theirs. ■ JESSIE COMRIE, Carleton Place
Jessie Comrie drowned in Sept of 1928– was it accidental or murder most fowl? READ-
Charlie arrived at the Cecilia Jeffrey School, which is run by the Presbyterian Church and paid for by the federal government, in the fall of 1963. Some 150 Indian children live at the school but are integrated into the local school system. Consequently, Cecilia Jeffrey is, for 10 months in the year, really nothing more than an enormous dormitory. And Charlie, who understood hardly any English, spent the first two years in grade one. He spent last year in what is called a junior opportunity class. That means he was a slow learner and had to be given special instruction in English and arithmetic. This fall he wasn’t quite good enough to go back into the grade system, so he was placed in what is called a senior opportunity class. read more here
|Birth Date:||abt 1858|
|Birth Place:||Montague, Ontario|
|Death Date:||5 Sep 1928|
|Death Place:||Lanark, Ontario, Canada|
|Cause of Death:||Drowned|