Oblates’ Indian Residential Schools in Canada

What’s here

Background

A year ago, I set out to build an authoratative graph of Indian Residential Schools (IRS) in Canada – beginning with identifying their names, locations, religious affiliations, and dates of operation. As the demands of this task became clearer, I decided to focus on 62 Indian Residential Schools that were managed by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Oblates). Here we derive our initial dataset of Oblates’ Indian Residential Schools.

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TRC’s List of Indian Residential Schools

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) noted that “The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) provides the most comprehensive listing of Canadian residential schools for Aboriginal people” – though several issues combined to complicate the TRC’s efforts to identify the Indian Residential Schools.1Volume 4, pp. 139, 140. In 2015, the TRC published a list of 143 Indian Residential Schools that were covered by the IRSSA2Volume 4, Appendix 1.1, pp. 141-149. and another 16 Indian Residential Schools that appeared in Annual Reports of Indian Affairs, but were not included in the IRSSA.3Volume 4, Appendix 1.2, pp. 150-151.

We would amend the TRC’s first list of Indian Residential Schools as follows:

  1. Add a listing for Kivalliq Hall IRS at Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.4 In 2018 – three years after the TRC had published its list – the Nunavut Court of Appeal ordered Canada to include Kivalliq Hall IRS (Rankin Inlet, Nunavut; Non-denominational; 1985-1997) under the IRSSA.
  2. Add separate listings for Fort Pelly IRS and St. Phillip’s IRS at Kamsack/Fort Pelly, Saskatchewan.
  3. Add separate listings for Cross Lake/St. Joseph’s/Norway House IRS and Notre Dame Hostel IRS at Cross Lake, Manitoba.

(See our rationale for amendments and ).

We are publishing the TRC’s original list and our amended list of Indian Residential Schools (trc_and_trc-amended) as an Open Document Spreadsheet (ODS) with these fields:

Table 1. Data fields in the TRC’s original list (2015) and our amended list (2022) of Indian Residential Schools.
Field Definition
SOURCE In most cases, the source of information about an Indian Residential School under Tab:trc and Tab:trc-amended is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Final Report, Volume 4: Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials, 2015. Amended entries for Indian Residential Schools under Tab:trc-amended will cite other sources of information.
SOURCE_URL URL for source of information about an Indian Residential School.
IRS_ID Under Tab:trc, the assignment of identifiers follows the TRC’s original layout/ordering of Indian Residential Schools (see Figure 1). Thus, IRS_ID=1 is assigned to {Assumption, Alberta, Our Lady Assumption, Assumption, Hay Lakes IRS, Roman Catholic, 1951-1973};  IRS_ID=2 is assigned to {Brocket, Alberta, Sacred Heart, Brocket IRS; Roman Catholic, 1887-1961}; and so on. Numbering continues with Indian Residential Schools listed in Appendix 1.2, that is, IRS_ID=144 is assigned to {Calgary, Alberta, St. Dunstan IRS, Anglican, 1896-1907}; and so on.

Under Tab:trc-amended, the assignment of identifers follows the same numbering scheme, but amended entries for Indian Residential Schools means that most Indian Residential Schools are assigned a different identifier under Tab:trc-amended (see Figure 2). The first difference is occasioned by the amended entries for two Indian Residential Schools at Cross Lake, Manitoba; thereafter, the identifiers assigned to an Indian Residential Schools under Tab:trc-amended differ from those assigned under Tab:trc.

PROVINCE_TERRITORY Jurisdiction
LOCATION Town or city
IRS_NAME Primary name assigned to the institution.
IRS_AKA Alias(es) assigned to the institution.
AFFILIATION Religious affiliation(s) of the institution.
OPENING_DATE Opening date of the institution.
OPENING_DATE_SOURCE Source for the opening date.
OPENING_DATE_PRIMARY_SOURCE Primary source for the opening date (e.g. a business record prepared by an IRS administrator).
CLOSING_DATE Closing date of the institution.
CLOSING_DATE_SOURCE Source for the closing date.
CLOSING_DATE_PRIMARY_SOURCE Primary source for the closing date (e.g. a business record prepared by an IRS administrator).

 

Figure 1. Application of the numbering scheme to assign identifiers to Indian Residential Schools in the TRC's original list.
Figure 1. Application of the numbering scheme to assign identifiers to Indian Residential Schools in the TRC’s original list.

 

Figure 2. Application of the numbering scheme to assign identifiers to Indian Residential Schools in the TRC’s original list (lefthand-side) vs in our amended list (righthand-side).

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Our List of Oblates’ Indian Residential Schools

The Catholic Church operated 64 of 144 (44%) Indian Residential Schools in Canada. We have established that the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Oblates) managed 62 (97%) of these institutions.

We are publishing our initial dataset of Oblates’ Indian Residential Schools (oirs_2022-12-17-1) as an Open Document Spreadsheet (ODS) with the same data fields as those listed in Table 1 above.

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Next steps

We want to anchor and enrich our initial dataset of Oblates’ Indian Residential Schools with data from other authoratative sources, beginning with the Canadian government’s initial (2007) and final (2015) lists of Indian Residential Schools that it recognized under the IRSSA.

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Credits

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. If you use this work, please credit Paul Allen, paul@hartallen.com.


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