Fonds CDA D-3 - Spanish Residential School Fonds

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Titre propre

Spanish Residential School Fonds

Dénomination générale des documents

  • Document iconographique
  • Document textuel

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  • Source du titre propre: Title based on the content of the fonds.
  • Variantes du titre: École résidentielle Spanish
  • Variantes du titre: St. Peter Claver School
  • Variantes du titre: Garnier Residential School
  • Variantes du titre: Spanish Indian Residential Schools
  • Variantes du titre: Garnier High School

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Juridiction responsable et dénomination (philatélique)

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Description matérielle

1.23 metres of textual material and other material
Note: Includes more than 3500 photographs

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Nom du producteur


Histoire administrative

The Jesuit Residential School at Spanish was a residential school for Indigenous peoples operated by the Society of Jesus. Prior to the activities at Spanish, a day school was established in 1838 by the Jesuits at Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island. The school for Indigenous boys was administered by the Jesuits and, after 1862, the school for Indigenous girls was managed by the Daughters of Mary. The Indigenous students at Wikwemikong, and then Spanish, came from First Nations communities in the Manitoulin Island area, and as far as the Ahkwesáhsne, Kahnawà:ke, and Kanehsatà:ke communities.

After the 1850 Robinson-Huron Treaty, when the federal government began providing financial support for education at Wikwemikong, the schools were reorganized and became the Wikwemikong Industrial School. The school officially opened on September 3, 1878. It began to receive major financial support from the federal government, which increased the collaboration between the Jesuits and the Department of Indian Affairs regarding the management of the institution and the education of Indigenous students. Following the 1894 amendment to the Indian Act, which required First Nations children to attend residential schools, the school at Wikwemikong became part of the educational system controlled by the Department of Indian Affairs.

Following the federal government’s recommendations regarding the education of Indigenous children, in addition to conflicts at Wikwemikong including the 1911 strike and the burning of the girls’ school, it was decided to transfer the residential school out of proximity of Indigenous communities. This decision was taken along new federal grant systems to finance residential schools. The residential school moved to the town of Spanish, and was renamed Spanish Indian Residential School. It opened on July 23, 1913, with the arrival of the boys to the facility. The Spanish Indian Residential School for Girls opened on or around August 15, 1913.

Increased enrollment, particularly from the Kahnawà:ke, Ahkwesáhsne, and Kanehsatà:ke communities, expanded the mission, which needed to tend to the school all year long. The school’s operations, with the contribution of Indigenous children, included managing the farm, growing vegetables, maintaining the buildings, and teaching different trades.

Discussions involved the development of a high school program to revitalize the scope of the Jesuits’ missionary work. The high school, named St. Charles Garnier, began its operations in 1947. Enrollment increased rapidly during the first few years of operation but began to decline in the mid-1950s. This, combined with internal strife, Jesuit personnel disillusionment, and problems of infrastructure, led to the closing of the elementary and high schools at Spanish. The school for boys closed on June 30, 1958 while the school for girls closed on June 30, 1962.

Nom du producteur

Historique de la conservation

Upon the closing of the school in 1958, the material was transferred to the Archives of the Upper Canada Province and then transferred to The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada, in 2009.

Portée et contenu

This fonds provides information on the foundation, evolution, and closing of the Spanish Residential School. It documents the activities of the residential schools, including the technical training of Indigenous children. The school was administered by the Jesuit fathers of the Upper Canada Province, initially named Independent Mission of Canada (1887-1907), Province of Canada (1907-1924), then Vice-Province of Upper Canada (1924-1939). The fonds contains records on the construction of buildings for the school at Spanish in 1913, documents on the social and cultural life at the residential schools, documents about student life, and records about the closing of the residential school for boys in 1958.

The fonds is organized into six series: Administration and financial records; Spanish Residential School buildings; Jesuit personnel; Student affairs; Spanish Residential School Photography Laboratory; and Student achievements and community life. It contains correspondence, diaries, newspaper clippings, financial statements, student registers, and student publications. It also comprises photographs associated with the school cultural and sports programs, including hockey, photographs of the schools’ buildings and Jesuit personnel, and photographs of the Spanish community.

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Source immédiate d'acquisition


The fonds was originally arranged as D-0003 and subsequently 0700-0023. The series arrangement have probably been developped when the finding aid has been edited in April 2010.

Langue des documents

  • anglais
  • français
  • ojibwa

Écriture des documents

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Restrictions d'accès

Consultation of documents containing personal information on third parties could be forbidden. Priority is given to families related to Spanish Residential School survivors.

Délais d'utilisation, de reproduction et de publication

Some documents may be subject to copyright. Use and reproduction of archival documents must be done with the permission of The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada and appropriate Indigenous communities, if applicable.

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Note générale

The photographs of the fonds are not fully processed and available. Please contact us for further questions.

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Identifiant de la description du document

François Dansereau, Senior Archivist

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Dates de production, de révision et de suppression

The fonds has been processed between 1991 and 1999 by Patrick John Boyle, S.J., Director of the Archives of the Upper Canada Province, and in April 2010 by The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada, located in Montreal. The inventory and the finding aid have been revised and updated in Fall 2020 by Senior Archivist François Dansereau.

The old finding aid is available to researchers upon request.

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