A number of different accounts by staff at Indian Residential Schools are featured on this page.
The Sisters who taught, nursed and cared for Indian children at residential schools kept records of daily events which were periodically forwarded to the mother houses of their religious orders.
Similar records, called codices, were kept by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at their missions across Canada, many of which had residential schools.
Most of these chronicles were sent to the TRC years ago in response to its requests for records from religious orders across Canada, but the NCTR has not digitized them for its archives, and they are thus not available to the general public.
Fortunately the chronicles of the Sisters of Providence at Cluny, Alberta, the Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns) at Cardston, and the Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin at Delmas, Hobbema and Onion Lake, and the codices of the Oblates at these missions were deposited by the Oblates at the Provincial Archives of Alberta where extensive excerpts were recently transcribed and translated by Eloi DeGrace and are now available at the links below.
These historical records exemplify the warmth, kindness and selfless dedication of the religious men and women who cared for Indian children at these residential schools and missions. For further discussion, see ‘Our Dear Children’ in the Dorchester Review.
There are also surviving accounts by individual staff members which offer valuable insights into daily life at Indian residential schools, including:
My Life in Two Indian Residential Schools, a recent article by Rod Clifton in which he describes his experiences as a staff member at Old Sun Indian Residential School on the Siksika Reserve in Alberta, and at Stringer Hall in Inuvik;
A Dinner at Oblate House, a CBC Ideas program which recorded the memories of Oblates who had worked at residential schools in British Columbia;
Nurse Kay Blake’s lively account of her experiences from 1950-1958 at Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Ontario;
Account by Antony Leia, who worked at the Kamloops Indian Residential School from the 1920s until 1975.