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6. Residential Schools

Beauval Indian Residential School

Residential Schools

Beauval and Ile a la Crosse

Many La Loche children went to the residential schools in Beauval and Ile a la Crosse. Grey Nuns taught at both of these schools.
In 1939 La Loche had 107 school age children but only 13 attended school. 11 in Beauval and 2 in Ile a la Crosse. (Piercy Report 1944)

Note: Portions of this page has been published on Wikipedia  by the author. (see: Beauval Indian Residential School)


The Beauval residential school was for First Nations children.
The history of the Beauval residential school spans the years from 1895 to 1983 when it closed. 
It then became the Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s Beauval Indian Education Centre which closed in 1995.
See its history in this link. (in three pages)

More links:

Below is a photo of the residential school in Beauval, Saskatchewan taken in 1924. This school burned down September 20, 1927.
In 1911 when Bishop Charlebois visited the school he wrote that all the 44 children there were taught both French and English but that the use of French dominated.
The boys dormitory was on the top floor.

The Beauval Residential School Fire of 1927 

"In the night of the 19 and 20 of September", 1927. 
"The fire started at the center of the building close to the furnaces. It spread into the hallway and into the boys dormitory and closed the outside exits. The children tried to save themselves through an inside staircase but were stopped by the flames. The whole boys dormitory was in flames.
The older girls were heroic in guiding the younger girls to safety. Father Francois Gagnon almost suffocated. In the blink of an eye the building was totally engulfed in flames. The furnaces had been checked just three days previously. 
Sister Lea and 19 boys, from the ages of 7 to 12, died." ........  wrote the principal of the school Father Mederic Adam. (translation)
"The burnt remains of the twenty victims were buried in two caskets."....Father Penard
Sister Lea Bellerose had been teaching in Beauval since 1917 and spoke Cree fluently. She was in charge of the boys dormitory.

Note: The student population in 1911 was 44 and it may have been about the same in 1927.  
The 19 boys that perished may have been all the boys living in the school (almost half of the student population).

The following list of boys who died in the fire was taken from the memorial stone.

*Marcel Lemaigre age 7
*Jimmy Iron age 8
*Alex Opikokew age 8
*Simon Sayers (Sayesc) age 8
*Raphael Corrigal age 9
*Jules Coulionner age 9
*Samuel Gardiner age 9
*Roderique Iron age 10
*Joseph Sayers (Sayesc) age 10
*Thomas Alcrow age 11
*Freddy Bishop age 11
*Antoine Durocher age 11
*Patrice Grosventre age 11
*Frank Kimbley age 11
*Alfred Laliberte age 11
*Moise Lariviere age 11
*Zephrin Morin age 11
*Albert Sylvestre age 11
*Ernest Bishop age 12

Incised in the stone above the main entrance are the words "Beauval Indian School". 
This school was built in 1930-31. The photo was taken in 1951.
Another school located in the village of Beauval was for local children.
The building was demolished after 1995. 

1936 Epidemic:  Beauval Residential School 

"In the course of last winter (1936) an epidemic of influenza and measles ravaged the north-west part of the Vicariat.
It first started in Beauval and struck almost all the population. Our Indian school and the rectory were
immediately converted into hospitals and despite the heroic efforts of the religious personnel there were 60 victims, 
20 at the school and more than 40 among the families of the Mission.
With an equal violence the epidemic arrived rapidly to our other Missions of the north particularly Ile a la Crosse,
Buffalo River (Dillon) and Portage La Loche. In each of these Missions the death toll was around 50 people." 
wrote Bishop Lajeunesse in 1937. (translation)

Note: Beauval may have had a population of 300 in 1936. A loss of 60 people would have been 20% of the population.

Ile a la Crosse:

The Ile a la Crosse residential school was  for metis children.
The history of the Ile a la Crosse school began with the arrival of three Grey Nun's in 1860. 
The following link gives us the history of this school.

Ile a la Crosse school girls 1913-14

More links:


 Picture of the Ile a la Crosse Mission as it may have looked in 1860..... the year the Grey Nuns arrived.