Sisters' Chronicles reveal the warmth, kindness and dedication of the women who nursed, taught and cared for Indian children
"Our dear children": Sisters’ Chronicles of Indian Residential Schools
By Nina Green
THE FOREGOING ENTRIES from chronicles kept by 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 demonstrate the warmth, kindness and dedication of the women who nursed, taught and cared for Indian children at Canadian residential schools.
These three female religious orders, founded in the province of Quebec in 1737, 1843, and 1853 respectively, began work in residential schools in Western Canada as a result of a decision in 1841 by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a male order of priests and brothers founded in 1816 in Aix-en-Provence, France, to send missionaries to what would later become Canada. In the decades that followed, the Oblates established missions and on their own and in partnership with the federal government administered Indian residential schools in what are now the western Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.
Unfortunately the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which conducted hearings across Canada from 2007 to 2015 and heard from more than 6,500 witnesses, made very little use of the chronicles kept by these religious orders. The Commission thus omitted from its final report vital evidence of the exemplary and difficult work done by the Oblates and the Sisters who had dedicated their lives to the education and welfare of children at Indian residential schools. In fact the Sisters are given only a cursory mention as assistants to the Oblates in a single paragraph in the five-volume TRC Final Report:
Although the Oblate codices and the Sisters’ chronicles were largely ignored by the TRC, they were extensively consulted for a report published by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2011 concerning its own involvement in Indian residential schools. The report notes that the Sisters’ chronicles were private internal documents, not meant to be read by outsiders, and were compiled primarily as information for the Mother House of the religious order, where they were formerly kept. Nonetheless, the chronicles provided the RCMP with evidence of a positive relationship with the Indian residential schools:
In the 1970s, the Sisters’ chronicles for residential schools in Cluny, Cardston, Delmas, Hobbema, and Onion Lake, as well as the Oblate codices for Brocket, Cluny, Hobbema, and Wabasca, were deposited at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. Since the early Oblate missionaries came to Canada from France and Belgium, and the female orders of Sisters were founded in Quebec, these documents are almost exclusively in French. They have been transcribed and translated by Eloi DeGrace, an archivist for the Catholic Archdiocese in Edmonton, now retired.
It is clear from the chronicles that the Sisters of Providence, Sisters of Charity, and Sisters of the Assumption were prompted by their Catholic faith to dedicate their lives to missionary work for the glory of God and the spiritual and temporal well-being of their young Indian charges.
The chronicles in which they recorded daily events offer a unique perspective on all aspects of life at Indian residential schools – relationships with parents, Indian leaders, and communities on the reserves; educational, religious and recreational activities at the schools, including sports and social occasions; student illnesses, deaths, and funerals; unexpected problems such as accidents, fires, and wells that gave out; and special excursions and celebrations of all kinds, including the all-important treaty day on which each child received an individual payment from the federal government:
Since they lived in the schools full time with the children, the Sisters were far more than teachers. They cared for the children as if they were their own, referring to them in the chronicles as “our dear children,” “our dear pupils,” and “dear little ones,” and to their parents as “our dear Indians to whom we so much desire to do good”. They were sometimes godmothers to children who were baptized at the schools:
The Sisters noted the children’s diseases in the chronicles, nursed those with long-standing serious illnesses such as tuberculosis, and dealt valiantly with epidemics of measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, and influenza, which regularly struck the schools and the reserves alike:
During epidemics, the Sisters were on duty day and night, sometimes when they themselves were ill:
Doctor A. Kennedy put the school under quarantine. We have 22 cases of measles. They are isolated on the third floor. Sister Superior and Sister Cartier are the daytime nurses and Sister Béliveau for the night. (Cardston, Mar. 30, 1924)
Rather than go home to their parents, sick children sometimes remained at school because they would get better care:
Visit from Dr. McColgan. He advises the Indians who have sick people here to let them finish the year because they will have better care. (Hobbema, May 5, 1919)
As a result of epidemics and the prevalence of tuberculosis among the Indian population on the reserves, death was a frequent visitor in the early years. The Sisters recorded in the chronicles the circumstances of the children’s deaths and their funerals, including not only those who died at school, but also those who died in hospital, or at home:
Our dear little Cecile Taylor who had been ill for some time had returned home in the hope of recovering, but the good Lord decided otherwise. It was around 10 o'clock that she gave her beautiful, pure little soul back to God. Her service took place on the 12th. The children went in procession to get the body from her father's house. (Onion Lake, Jun. 10, 1917)
Funerals were held either in the school chapel or at the mission church, and were attended by the children as well as the Sisters. Burials took place in the reserve cemeteries, which were jointly maintained by the Indians and the Oblates:
Service in our chapel for the repose of the soul of David Mills, who died at Macleod on the 9th. He is buried in the Blood reserve cemetery. (Cardston, Apr. 12, 1918)
Today and tomorrow about 30 Indians, men and women, are cleaning up the cemetery and fencing it. We prepare dinner each day. We set the tables under the trees in the garden. Since the Chief is in charge, he occupies the place of honour at the table. He seems pleased with the menu. People have worked up an appetite, and everyone seems happy to have a good meal. (Hobbema, Jul. 29, 1915)
The Indians have been working since last Monday on the cemetery. It is quite beautiful now. There is still work to be done. The school provided the meals. (Hobbema, Jul. 17, 1953)
The Sisters made efforts to provide special treats for the children:
Holidays, especially Christmas, were marked by special celebrations:
Christmas Day will be forever noted in our annals. We had midnight Mass. Our little chapel was decorated with its most beautiful flowers to celebrate the coming of the Messiah. We attended the three Masses and sang carols appropriate to the occasion. The celebration was enhanced by mandolin solos performed by a young lady from Gleichen. Two hundred Indians came at the special invitation extended to them by the Reverend Father. After Mass, we served them an excellent repast that they had been looking forward to since eight o'clock in the evening. (Cluny, Dec. 25, 1899)
In 1939 students travelled to Edmonton to see the King and Queen during a royal visit:
Great commotion in the house as we set out to see the King and Queen of England [sic] in the Alberta capital. The July treaty money having been distributed in advance, several Indians from the reserve took advantage of this windfall. 36 boys, under the supervision of Mr. L. Protti and 45 girls from the school under the care of Sisters Superior, Lucie des Anges and St. Flora left here at 9 o'clock this morning in a special wagon hired for the purpose by Reverend Father Principal. Their Majesties George VI and Elizabeth were cheered by a huge crowd of over 300,000 people thrilled with their gracious Sovereigns. Our children had the pleasure of taking a streetcar ride through the city to admire the decorations. This favour is due to good Father Rheaume. Lastly, a magnificent fireworks display at 10:30 p.m. delighted everyone's eyes and [then] off to Hobbema by the same route as in the morning. Our travelers arrived here at 3:30 in the night, a little tired, it is true, but not without having enjoyed a unique spectacle in the rural life of our brave Canadians. (Hobbema, Jun. 2, 1939)
The bonds the Sisters formed with the students were often long lasting. Many weddings were celebrated in the Sisters' chapels, followed by a celebratory luncheon for the newlyweds and their families:
Some former students returned to the schools as employees. Others came back from time to time for visits, for alumni reunions, and to participate in ceremonies on special occasions. Some children who had been taken in by the Sisters as orphans really had no home but the school:
Children frequently ran away, often on a whim, but usually returned to the school within a few days:
When children ran away, the reasons were looked into:
Although sending their children to residential schools involved family separation, most parents appreciated the opportunity for their children to learn English and receive an education.
Parents who lived on the reserve on which the school was located brought their children to the schools themselves. Children who lived on reserves at some distance from the school were picked up by the principal or a school employee in the fall, and driven back home at vacation time:
In some cases, parents were actually anxious to have their children return to school after the summer vacation:
The children return to school. 32 boys and 49 girls are present. The others will come a little later because several have the measles. The Agent even spoke of delaying the return, but as the Indians are very poor and some of them showed a haste to bring back their children, it was decided that the families in which there were no cases of illness would follow the usual date. (Hobbema, Aug. 18, 1935)
When they wished to, parents withdrew their children from the schools, although they usually returned them after a short time:
When children ran away, parents brought them back:
One of our older girls, fearing that the students will be prevented from going home for vacation, deserts. The Agent takes an interest in her, and she is brought back by her parents the next morning. (Hobbema, Jan. 12, 1921)
The Sisters were well aware that it was difficult for the children to give up the freedom of life in the outdoors, but although everyone, including the Sisters, looked forward to Christmas and summer vacations, the children were usually happy to return to school after the holidays:
Parents who lived on the reserve on which the school was located had many opportunities to see what was happening in the schools. They were regularly invited to a variety of school functions:
It is the closing - June 29. Great celebration, great rejoicing. As a conclusion to the school year, we had a recreational performance. The program was very full and gave complete satisfaction. Mr. Gooderham, our Agent, who never misses an opportunity to encourage the pupils, gave them a warm speech, congratulating them on the ease with which they performed their parts and the fluency with which they spoke English. The parents, happy to see their children so skilful, keep repeating: "Ex-o-ka-pew, Ex-o-ka-pew". It's beautiful, it's beautiful. (Cluny, Jun. 29, 1923)
Parents from distant reserves did not have the same opportunity to become involved in school life, but efforts were made to compensate for this. Parents occasionally stayed overnight at the schools, and when possible the Sisters visited the children’s homes:
In later years, parents had regular contact with their children since students went home on weekends and at treaty time, and day students were admitted to the residential schools.
Chiefs played an active role in developing relationships between the school and the reserve community. They spoke at meetings and on other occasions, sometimes in English, sometimes in their own languages, thanking the Sisters for their efforts, and encouraging the children to persevere in their schoolwork:
Many friends attended the concert which was very well performed by the children. All the guests and the Provincial and Principal expressed their great satisfaction. Chiefs Minde and Saddleback spoke to the children and encouraged them in their studies. (Hobbema, Apr. 26, 1955)
Chief Dan Minde, grandfather of TRC Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild, even hosted two end-of-year school picnics:
The chronicles note numerous occasions on which parents expressed appreciation for the work the schools were doing:
In fact, on some reserves parents actively opposed the federal government’s decision to close the residential schools:
School reopens today. Close to three hundred students register, but several are missing. There have been some disagreements between federal officials and the Indians of the reserve. The Department wants to limit the number of boarders and oblige the pupils to come as day students. The Indian families object. They want their children at boarding school, so, today, as a protest, they refuse to send their children. The seniors grades, VII to XII, do not show up for school. The ‘rebellion’ lasts for a week. The Indian Agent, Mr. Alex H. Murray, has to modify his orders somewhat, and with some compromise from both sides, the senior pupils slowly make their way back to school. About 320 are now registered. (Cluny, Sep. 5, 1961)
With the Government pushing to send Indian children to white schools, a new movement is being organized to consider the problem and respond accordingly. It is a Parish and School Central Committee consisting of twenty-three Indian men from all parts of the reserve. The first meeting is tonight following a banquet. (Cardston, Jan. 27, 1963)
From the beginning, a major objective of residential schools was to teach the children English, as explained in the 1896 Department of Indian Affairs Annual Report:
Every effort must be made to induce pupils to speak English, and to teach them to understand it; unless they do, the whole work of the teacher is likely to be wasted.
Teachers in Protestant residential schools had an advantage in that regard since English was the teachers’ first language. The French-speaking Sisters, however, had the added chore of becoming fluent in English themselves. They spent time taking English lessons, and were encouraged by the Oblates to speak English outside the classroom:
All the Sisters understand the advantages that should result from the realization of this desire and are willing to do their utmost to carry out the views of the Reverend Father Principal. It has therefore been decided that in future all readings will be in English, and that at table, during recreation, and at all times as far as possible, the Sisters will speak only English among themselves. (Cardston, Mar. 16, 1916)
In turn, the Sisters made efforts to encourage the children to speak English both inside and outside the classroom:
Although there was a concerted attempt to create an immersion situation in the schools which would make it as easy as possible for the children to learn English, their own languages had a place in school life as well. The Oblates made special efforts to learn Indian languages; it is even said that Father Jean-Louis Le Vern spoke Blackfoot so fluently that he had a Blackfoot accent when he spoke French.
The chronicles record that on many occasions Indian leaders and Oblates addressed the children in Blackfoot and Cree. Even Santa Claus spoke Blackfoot at a Christmas program in 1957. At Cluny the children often sang the Canadian national anthem in Blackfoot. As well, prayers were said, hymns were sung, and sermons were given in Cree and Blackfoot during church services:
Midnight Mass. High Mass is sung by Reverend Father Riou, O.M.I., at which a large number of Indians assist and receive Communion. A few of the Christmas hymns were sung in Blackfoot, and one can well imagine the surprise of the older people. After Mass, the children’s recreation halls were left to their disposal. Mostly all remained until morning due to the intense cold and the distance from which many came. (Cluny, Dec. 25, 1934)
At Onion Lake, the children were taught Cree syllabics by the principal so they could write letters home to their families:
Writing Lessons – Father Principal comes to teach us the Cree Syllabics. We are very glad to learn this writing because it is our own language and we will be able to write to our parents and grandparents. Then they will be able to understand the writing and to write letters to us when they wish. Our sincere thanks to Father for teaching us this writing. We are happy to learn it. Rosalie Chocan, Grade 7.
In addition to the use of Indian languages, traditional aspects of Indian culture were also featured at the schools. In 1938 at Cluny there was an “Indian celebration”:
This same afternoon at four o’clock an Indian celebration was held in the boys’ hall. Over three hundred Indians were present. Five boys dressed in beaded costumes danced to the rhythm of the drums and Indian war songs. Lunch and tea were served to all the Indians. These celebrations are given to draw the Indians closer to the school. (Cluny, Jun. 19, 1938)
On another occasion Indian dances formed part of a program organized by the children to honour the Sister Superior:
This evening all our children organize an improvised program in honour of our good Mother Anne-Philomène, Provincial Superior, who is visiting us. Songs, recitations, and Indian dances greatly amused our visitors. Mother Anne-Philomène then distributed a beautiful red apple to each one. Everyone is happy. (Cluny, Nov. 30, 1943)
On yet another occasion the school hosted a family reunion where, after a banquet, speeches, games and films, there was Indian dancing by young and old alike:
After supper, there was an Indian dance party. Everyone danced, old, young, children, to the sound of the drum which resounded up to the 3rd floor. At 10 o'clock, time to rest and to dream about the past day which was appreciated by all. (Cluny, Apr. 25, 1942)
In 1959, students from Cluny competed in the Calgary District Indian Festival. On another occasion a Blackfoot troupe performed at the school:
A troop of Blackfoot “actors” from Cardston came here this evening to give us a film on Blackfoot Tribe life of early days. This was followed by a pageant, prepared by themselves, depicting traditions and tribal rituals. They show a Sundance, a group of Indians on the warpath followed by a war dance and victory celebrations. They showed a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman (RCMP) and an Oblate missionary to recognize the benefits they have received from the country and from the Church. These older Indians deplore the fact that their traditions and tribal customs are dying out. For them, as for any ethnic group, cultural heritage is precious. (Cluny, Apr. 5, 1963)
The children were taught Indian crafts. At Onion Lake, Mrs. Gadwa came to the school to teach the girls beadwork:
Beaded work – Every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Adelaide Gadwa comes to teach us how to make beaded work. Father said that the girls who are between the ages of 9 and 13 years old may follow the classes. We appreciate this very much because when we are at home later on, we will be able to make anything we wish for. Thanks to Mrs. Gadwa of the Onion Lake Reserve for teaching us. Helen Whitstone, Gr. 5.
The children regularly won prizes for their work at exhibitions in Calgary and Edmonton, and at Hobbema the school proudly hosted its own exhibition of the children’s beadwork, basketwork and other crafts in 1940:
Exhibition in our school! There are one hundred and eighty pieces on display in the boys' [sic for girls’] sewing room decorated for the occasion. These exhibits include beadwork, cabarets and rush baskets, needlework and crochet, etc. In the morning, we repeat our performance for the students of the Hobbema village school. In the afternoon, we received about 40 visitors from Edmonton, Ponoka and Wetaskiwin. (Hobbema, Jun. 19, 1940)
At Cluny, the Sisters even facilitated the sale of moccasins beaded by the women of the reserve:
When we arrived at the Community this evening we saw a large exhibit of hundreds of pairs of beaded moccasins of all sizes that the Indian women had brought to Sister Marie-Damien, Superior, to sell. We have exhibitions of this kind quite often, but each time it is a new spectacle that we always enjoy admiring. This year Sister Superior gave about $1500 to the Indian women on the reserve for their work. (Cluny, Apr. 20, 1944)
The schools showed great respect for Indian leaders. In 1913, the Sisters and children from the Cardston school attended the funeral of the “Great Chief”, Crop-Eared Wolf:
Solemn funeral of the Great Chief. At 9:00 a.m., Reverend Father Ruaux went to the camp located about a mile from the mission to say the prayers for the transfer of the body. Three Sisters from the hospital also went by wagon. The boys and girls also went on foot. It was almost eleven o'clock when the convoy left the camp. The wagon carrying the coffin went first, then the band, led by Mr. Webb. The school staff and 17 wagons followed. Arrival at the Church at 11:30. Mass begins immediately. After Mass, the convoy forms again to go to the cemetery. It is 2 hours before all is finished. (Cardston, Apr. 16, 1913)
Similarly, the entire staff of the Hobbema school attended the funeral of Chief Panny Ermineskin in 1940:
Service and burial of our Indian Chief. It is touching to see the large number in attendance, among them Colonel Lewis, Protestant Agent on the reserve, his secretary, and the entire school staff. At the cemetery there were three speeches in Cree by Chiefs of the other neighbouring reserves. Reverend Father Moulin watched with sorrow the departure of one of his old and faithful parishioners. He could barely speak when it came time for him to say a few words at the grave of the departed Chief. A flag is placed on the grave. (Hobbema, Nov. 16, 1940)
In 1927, the Sisters and children from Cluny formed part of a crowd of a thousand who had gathered to honour Chief Crowfoot:
It thus seems clear from the chronicles that far from trying to strip the children of their language and culture, the schools showed respect for and actively furthered the preservation of both.
In recent years there have been widespread unsupported allegations that thousands of children from Indian residential schools across Canada went “missing”, never to be seen again by their parents, and were buried in long-forgotten unmarked graves. The Sisters’ chronicles reveal how unlikely this story is. As noted above, the schools were located on reserves, and parents had access to them on many different occasions. If children had gone missing, it would have been noticed immediately.
Moreover children were only admitted to residential schools through an application signed by the parent which was submitted to Ottawa for approval through the local Indian Agent together with a doctor’s certificate testifying to the prospective student’s good health. Once a child was admitted, the federal government meticulously tracked his or her progress from the time the child entered the residential school until the time he or she left via quarterly returns submitted to Ottawa by the school through the Indian Agent three times a year in order to qualify for the federal government grant payable for each student. These quarterly returns listed each student by name and a register number unique to that school, along with the student’s age and the Indian Band to which the student belonged. The progress of former students was also tracked after they had left residential schools to assess whether the education they had received was helping them to live productive and happy lives.
In addition, the chronicles record that there was a constant stream of outside visitors to the schools — Indian Agents, police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses, X-ray technicians, dieticians, school inspectors, farm inspectors, business people such as “Mr D. Hargeaves, Superintendent of T. Eaton’s store in Calgary, a great friend of the Indians” and a benefactor of the school, and many officials from Ottawa. All visited the schools, some of them several times a year. On one occasion Dr. Peter Bryce visited the Cardston School. Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa, also visited the schools as did the US Secretary of Indian Affairs. In 1922 the Mohawk Chief Frederick Loft visited the Hobbema school:
We have the honour of receiving the Grand Chief Mr Loft; a small reception is made for him in the classroom by the children. He made a good impression on everyone by his distinguished manners and the good words he spoke in favour of civilization. (Hobbema, Jun. 22, 1922)
Moreover, as is often mentioned in the chronicles, representatives of the Department of Indian Affairs arrived at the reserves regularly to pay the treaty money:
All status Indians on the reserve, young and old, were entitled to this payment. Officials distributed the treaty money to each person individually, crossing his or her name off a list. If a child had been missing on treaty day, his or her absence would have been noticed immediately, particularly since in later years children went home with their parents after the payment of the treaty money:
Big holiday on the occasion of the "Treaty". The children enjoyed their family time and returned after three days. (Hobbema, Apr. 24, 1930)
It thus seems clear that children were not “missing” from residential schools, and that recent claims of “missing” children are a direct result of a misuse of language in which documented student deaths at residential schools have been described in the media as “missing” children.
The chronicles establish that there was a close relationship between the Sisters, the children, and the reserve community, and perhaps nothing illustrates this more clearly than the fact that former students enrolled their own children at the schools, and returned to the schools for visits:
Jennie Dion, the first resident of eighteen hundred and ninety-four, brings us her son as a boarder. He is a pretty boy of ten years old. (Hobbema, Feb. 10, 1916)
A High Mass was sung at 9 a.m. for deceased former students. Around 10 a.m., some Sisters and former students of Sr. St. Patrice went to the old Onion Lake. After dinner at St. Michael's wood, it was moving to hear them sing to their teacher "Souvenir du jeune âge", a song learned more than 40 years ago, and not a word was lost. (Onion Lake, Jun. 11, 1936)
The images of former students bringing their own children to the schools, and of former students singing for Sister Patrice a French song she had taught them four decades earlier, and remembering every word of it, strike particularly poignant notes.
It is clear that there is much more to the history of the residential schools than the harsh and even defamatory version portrayed in the media in Canada today. The publication of the Sisters’ chronicles and the Oblates’ codices would serve to correct the record and restore in some measure the tarnished reputations of these forgotten missionaries who devoted themselves in difficult conditions to caring for and bettering the lives of their “dear Indians.”
That their love and care for the students bore fruit is attested and documented in many ways, not least in the desire of alumni to come back and visit their old school, their teachers, and presumably cherished memories of their friends and educational experiences for many years afterwards.
Nina Green is a private researcher who lives in British Columbia.
SPECIAL TO THE DORCHESTER REVIEW
 The Sisters used the French “sauvages". As Taljit points out, “the term was used by missionaries to describe a culturally deprived group. While pejorative, it should not be confused with the modern derogatory sense of the term.” See Taljit, Gary,”Good Intentions, Debatable Results: Catholic Missionaries and Indian Schooling in Hobbema, 1891-1914”, Past Imperfect, Vol. 1, 1992, pp. 133-54 at p. 152, available as a pdf file online.
 Provincial Archives of Alberta (hereafter PAA), PR1971.0220/2462, p. 3.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464, p. 152.
 For the Sisters of Providence, see https://www.providence.org/about/providence-archives/history-online/blessed-emilie-gamelin/nineteenth-century-womans-life
 For the Sisters of Charity, see https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/grey-nuns
 For the Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, see http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/buisson_edwige_13E.html
 McNally, Vincent J., The Lord’s Distant Vineyard : A History of the Oblates and the Catholic Community in British Columbia, (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2000), p. xxv.
 For the Catholic missions and clergy in the Diocese of St Albert under Bishop Grandin in 1887, see Le Canada Ecclésiastique: Almanach-Annuaire Du Clergé Canadien, (Montreal: Cadieux & Derome, 1887), pp. 106-7.
 The heading “Roman Catholic Church and missionaries” in the TRC Report index consists almost exclusively of topics with a negative connotation. See Index: The History, Part 2, 1939-2000, p. 854.
 Canada’s Residential Schools: The History, Part 1, Origins to 1939, The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume 1, pp. 29-30 (hereafter TRC Report, Vol. 1).
 The Oblate codices are broader in scope than the Sisters’ chronicles. Although they deal with the residential schools, they also highlight more general aspects of the relationship with Indians on the reserve.
 LeBeuf, Marcel-Eugène, The Role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police During the Indian Residential School System, Ottawa, 2011, p. 183.
 LeBeuf, supra, p. 58.
 LeBeuf, supra, p. 59.
 “Most of the nineteenth-century Jesuit and Oblate missionaries to Canada were French-speaking Catholics from France or Belgium.” See TRC Report, Vol. 1, p. 35. “Over the next fifty-five years, 273 Oblates worked in the Northwest. Of them, 138 were from France, 19 from Germany, and 6 from Belgium. Most of the eighty-two Canadians came from Québec.” See TRC Report, Vol. 1, p. 90.
 An exception is the chronicle kept by the Sisters of Providence, which is in both English and French, depending on the chronicler at the time. See LeBeuf, supra, p. 183.
 “As the objective was to document daily life in Indian residential schools, all material relating to happenings at the school, student activities (both academic and otherwise), and the difficulties of administration have been transcribed. Passages relating solely to the religious life of the Sisters have been omitted. Initial translation of the chronicles and codices was done using the DeepL translator. Adjustments were then made to the text as some French words and expressions from the era were not well translated by the software.” Eloi DeGrace.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 130. Taljit explains the numbering system used by the Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin: “Provincial. Archives of Alberta (PAA), Papiers des Soeurs de l'Assomption de la Ste. Vierge (SASV). . . . The material is labelled according to a two-numeral system devised by the SASV. Thus, the first numeral in SASV 15/9 refers to the house or convent concerned, in this case, Hobbema; while the second numeral signifies the category to which the document belongs.” See Taljit, supra, p. 151.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2467, p. 150.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2588, p. 66; PAA, PR1971.0220/2469, p. 103.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2477, p. 567.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, pp. 91-5.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 164-70, 192; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 44.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2462, pp. 52-4; PAA, PR1973.0080/SASV/2/1, pp. 88-90.
 PAA, PR1973.0080/SASV/2/1, p. 47.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464, p. 20.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2468, pp. 234, 238.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2465, p. 157.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2467, pp. 88, 153-4.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2465, p. 205.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 156.
 PAA, PR1978.0204/7, pp. 142-3, 163; PAA, PR1971.0220/2472, p. 103.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 83; PAA, PR1971.0220/2583, pp. 137-8.
 PAA, PR1978.0204/7, pp. 142-3.
 PAA, PR1978.0204/7, pp. 179-80.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 13.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 91.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, pp. 13-22; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 67.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 130-1.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 135-7.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 13.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 16.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2466, p. 28.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 143.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 44-8, 60-2.
 In the early years, according to the custom of the time, the body was sometimes exposed in the Sisters’ chapel or in the church. See PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 6-7, 60-2.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, pp. 74-5.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 189.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 283-4.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2469, p. 28.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 85.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464, p. 81.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 97.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3805, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2582, p. 31.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2469, p. 10.
 The French word used is “voitures”.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 18.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 76.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464 p. 86.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464. p. 113.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2582, p. 4.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, pp. 29-30.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2462, p. 26.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2585, p. 265.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2471, p. 55; PAA, PR1971.0220/2473, p. 166.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 39.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2587, p. 490; PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 38; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 267-8.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2470, p. 133.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/2, p. 4.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3803, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2462, pp. 70-1.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 33.
 The same was true in other parts of Canada. Chief Sophie Pierre, who attended St. Eugene’s Indian Residential School in Cranbrook, said in an interview on Jun. 17, 2021 that “My mother brought me to the school”. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwBlYYcZPCc
 PAA, PR73.0489SASV14/2, p. 22.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3806, no page number.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 276.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2463, p. 185.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2463, p. 186.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 175.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 30.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 11.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 147.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 34, 43.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2584, p. 219.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 291.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2591, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971,0220/3808, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2462, p. 3.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2586, pp. 381-3; PAA, PR1971.0220/2587, p. 475.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2587, p. 475; PAA, PR1971.0220/2470, pp. 156-7.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3806, no page number.
 Chief Littlechild was raised by his grandfather, Chief Dan Minde. See: https://www.alberta.ca/aoe-wilton-littlechild.aspx
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3807, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3807, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/3807, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971,0220/3809, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 147.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2590, pp. 251-2.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2476, p. 452.
 Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs for the Year Ended 30th June 1896, Ottawa, p. 398, https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?id=1896a398&op=img&app=indianaffairs
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2465, p. 158.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464, p. 28.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2466, p. 18.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2465, p. 253.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 40. See also, Lamoureux, Diane, “The Missionary Oblates and First Nations’ Languages,” Proceedings of the First Symposium Dedicated to the History of the Oblate Missions to the First Nations, St Paul University, 2015, pp. 187-198.
 Smith, Donald B., Seen But Not Seen: Influential Canadians and the First Nations from the 1840s to Today, University of Toronto Press, 2021, p. 138, https://books.google.ca/books?id=TUA3EAAAQBAJ&pg=PA138
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2589, pp. 145-6; PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 43; PAA, PR1973.0080/SASV/2/1, p. 10.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2589, p. 183.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2586, p. 380.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2582, pp. 27-8.
 PAA, PR1978.0204/7, p. 266.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, pp. 151-4; PAA, PR1971.0220/3804, no page number.
 PAA, PR1973.0080/SASV/2/1, p. 66; PAA, PR73.0489SASV14/2, pp. 11-12. On Oct. 18, 1951, Father Levert recorded for his radio program on CHFA in Edmonton children at Hobbema singing hymns in Cree. See PAA, PR1971.0220/3804, no page number.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2582, p. 37.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2586, p. 353.
 St Anthony News, Vol. 2, No. 1, Sep-Oct 1951.
 The Oblate codex historicus for Cluny contains this entry for Jan. 27, 1937: Father Lessard has just finished four Indian drums for the children and they use them for their Indian dances. See PAA, PR1971.0220/2502, p. 274.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2586, p. 399.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2588, p. 3.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2587, p. 475.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2590, pp. 210-11.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2588, p. 270.
 St Anthony News, Vol. 2, No. 3, Jan-Feb 1952.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 100.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, pp. 38-40.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2588, p. 5.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2463, p. 271.
 Father Pierre Moulin came to Hobbema in 1903 and was principal of the school from 1914-1938. See Taljit, supra, p. 147. For Father Moulin’s Cree catechism, see https://www.rulon.com/pages/books/47845/catechisme-en-cris-r-p-moulin-o-m-i
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, pp. 46-7.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2585, p. 272.
 Annual Report of the Department of Indian Affairs for the Year Ended 30th June 1893, p. 91, https://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?id=1893a091&op=img&app=indianaffairs
 PAA, PR1978.0204/7, p. 239.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2465, pp. 174-5; PAA, PR1971.0220/2462, p. 29; PAA, PR1971.0220/2503, p. 93.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464, p. 41; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 55.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 81; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 55; PR1971.0220/2472, p. 103.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2466, p. 5; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 87.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2471, p. 24.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 85.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2589, p. 168.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1, p. 10; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 252.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2588, p. 4.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2582, p. 29; PAA, PR1971.0220/2587, p. 476.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2463, p. 185.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2463, p. 205; PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 39.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 87.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 184.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2464, p. 8.
 PAA, PR1971.0220/2466, p. 9.
 Personal communication from Rodney A. Clifton.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 234.
 The chronicles and codices record that in the early years epidemics and tuberculosis claimed many lives both in the schools and on the reserves.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV15/1a, p. 102.
 PAA, PR73.0489 SASV14/1, p. 206.