Fonds CDA D-3 - Spanish Residential School Fonds

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Spanish Residential School Fonds

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  • Document iconographique
  • Document textuel

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  • 1863-1985 (Création/Production)
    Spanish Residential School

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Description matérielle

0,88 metres of textual material. - 3260 photographs and two photo albums.

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Histoire administrative

The Spanish Residential School was a residential school operated by the Society of Jesus from 1913-1958. Prior to the establishment of the Spanish Residential School, the Jesuits operated a series of schools in Wiikwemkoong, on Manitoulin Island.

In 1844, the Jesuits arrived in Wiikwemkoong to help run a Roman Catholic school that had been founded three years prior, in 1841. The school had been founded to serve the Roman Catholic community and compete with the neighboring Anglican school. After the 1850 Robinson-Huron Treaty, the school began to receive funding from the federal government. In 1862, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary arrived to establish a school for girls, and in 1878, following significant grants from the government, the Jesuits founded the Wikwemikong Industrial School. These events marked an increase in the collaboration between the Jesuits and the government. A fire in 1885 destroyed the boys' school, which re-opened the following year, and in 1888 there was an attempt to burn down the girls' school. Following the 1894 amendment to the Indian Act, which required First Nations children to attend residential schools, the school at Wiikwemkoong 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 Wiikwemkoong including the 1911 strike and the burning of the girls’ school, the Jesuits decided to transfer the residential school away from the Indigenous community in Wiikwemkoong. The residential school moved to the town of Spanish, was renamed the St. Peter Claver School, and opened on July 23, 1913. The girls' school, still managed by the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, was renamed St. Joseph's, and , opened on or around August 15, 1913. Popularly known as the Spanish Residential Schools, they enrolled students from the Manitoulin Island area, and as far as the Ahkwesáhsne, Kahnawà:ke, and Kanehsatà:ke communities. Initially open for only a portion of the year, increased enrollment expanded the mission and the schools began operating year-round. The boys' school's operations relied in part on the labour of the Indigenous students, and included managing the farm, growing food, and maintaining the buildings. The mission also included the teaching of different trades.

A high school program was eventually developed 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.

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

The Spanish Residential School fonds contains records that pertain to the establishment, administration, operations, and eventual closing of the Spanish Residential School. It also contains records that pertain to the day school in Wiikwemkoong, which preceded the Spanish school. The schools were 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 is organized into five series: Administration and Financial Records; Student Affairs and Community Life; Spanish Residential School Buildings; Jesuit Personnel and School Staff; Spanish Residential School Photography Laboratory. It contains correspondence, diaries, newspaper clippings, financial statements, student registers, and student publications. The fonds also contains photographs associated with the schools’ cultural and sports programs, including hockey and football, photographs of the schools’ buildings and Jesuit personnel, and photographs of the Spanish community. Notably, the fonds also contains photographs produced by the students themselves in the school’s photo laboratory, established by Fr. William P. Maurice, S.J.

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  • 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.

    Instruments de recherche

    An inventory with item-level descriptions of all of the photographic material in the fonds is available upon request.

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    Dates de production, de révision et de suppression

    The fonds was 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 were revised and updated in Fall 2020 by Senior Archivist François Dansereau, and again in 2023-2024 by Kate Nugent (Young Canada Works).

    The legacy finding aid is available to researchers upon request.

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