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The good, the bad and the ugly of the Regina Indian Industrial School PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 12:04

Regina author, Douglas Stewart. Photo courtesy of Manfred Joehnck.

There was some good, but mostly bad things happened at the Regina Indian Industrial School, which operated from 1891 to 1910.

It was one of the first to open in Canada, and one of the first to close. Regina author, Douglas Stewart, spent the past two and years gathering information about its history, which he has now turned into a book.

Stewart was a former education professor at the University of Regina. He was also part of the group that was successful in having a small cemetery on the school’s site declared a provincial heritage site.

He says the school’s mandate was to teach trade skills to the boys and to teach the girls how to be good homemakers. Stewart says there were success stories.

"There were a number of young people at the school who learned a trade, and as far as I could tell, did quite well after they graduated," he said.

But there were many failures, the attempt to remove culture, language and heritage had a devastating impact on the children.

Stewart says there were also allegations of older boys at the school sexually assaulting some of the girls, however he says there are no documented sexual abuse allegations against the Presbyterian ministers who ran the school. Stewart says one of the most disturbing facts was the rampant death rate.

"I realized there were would be deaths at the school, but I didn’t realize the magnitude of these deaths. By 1898, after the school had been open for seven or eight years, the death rate was 21 per cent," he said.

Most the deaths were from tuberculosis, which spread rapidly through the dormitory style environment. The school was closed in 1910, it was then turned into a jail, and later a home for delinquent boys. It burned to the ground in 1948, destroying most of the records.

Work is continuing on the small cemetery, which holds the remains of about 36 children who attended the school. It is being turned into a sacred site and a gathering place for Indigenous people.

The book is called "The Regina Indian Industrial School 1891-1910." Stewart’s book is available at benchmarkpress.ca and through select retailers.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 12:09
Louie Mercredi to remain chief of Fond du Lac First Nation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:32

Photo courtesy of fonddulac.ca

According to a band consultant, Louie Mercredi will remain Chief of Fond du Lac First Nation for the next three years.

The band held an emergency meeting on Monday night to discuss the matter.

Mercredi was elected as chief at a general band election last month.

However, last week an appeals tribunal called for a by-election for the position, citing alleged violations of the local election act. In a fax obtained by MBC, the tribunal later informed the chief electoral officer they were reversing that original decision.

The tribunal said they did not have enough time to properly assess the situation before making the decision to call for a by-election. The fax says some members of the appeals board did not receive any information on the situation prior to the decision, therefore, the decision was reversed.

According to Don Deranger, band consultant and governance advisor, members were asked to vote to approve the reversed decision at Monday's emergency meeting.

He says of the 50 people at the meeting, 48 voted to uphold the original election results and keep Louie Mercredi as Chief.

The appeals tribunal also put forward several recommendations for the band's next election. They include better training for elector officers, assistants and appeals board members for the local election act. They also say board members should have in-house discussions as a group to review any manner that may arise.

As of now, there are no appeals before the tribunal on the Fond du Lac Election.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:56
La Loche students fundraising for historic tour PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Tuesday, 17 October 2017 09:16

The Juno Beach Centre. One of the many destinations the students hope to visit. Photo courtesy junobeach.org

Ten students from a northern Saskatchewan high school are hoping to travel to Europe to walk in the footsteps of Aboriginal soldiers during the First and Second World Wars.

Students from Dene High School in La Loche have started a fundraising campaign for their tour.

The students plan to visit historical sites and towns across Belgium, France and the Netherlands. They also plan to make a stop at Juno Beach, where Canadian soldiers landing during the D-Day Operation.

"For many of these students, they aren't aware of the sacrifices these men and women made during that time," said Mackenzie Graham, a teacher and one of the organizers of the trip. "By travelling over to those places and meeting people who are still impacted, history becomes alive, and I think it is an amazing opportunity for our students."

In the lead up to their trip in April 2018, students will research soldiers and hopefully meet their families to learn more about them.

"It is going to be an amazing opportunity to really dive in and make a connection with these soldiers," said Graham.

The ten students range from Grade 9 to 11, and will have to raise around $3,600 for the educational tour.

"Between fundraising in the school and community, applying for scholarships and grants, whatever we can do in the next five to six months, we are going to do to ensure this once-in-a-lifetime experience for this kids," said another organizer and teacher Willow Macsorley.

A GoFundMe page for the trip has already been started, and as of Tuesday morning, it has raised over $1,000.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 10:27
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