1996 - Gordon Residential School, the last federally run facility, closed in Saskatchewan

The Gordon’s Indian Residential School operated from 1888 until 1996. It was initially run by the Anglican church of Canada, then later handed over to the Indian and Eskimo Welfare Commission, and then finally the Government of Canada.

Digging Deeper

This article has a series of survivor stories, including newspaper clippings, first-person narratives, and videos. URegina.ca

Here are a sample of the stories from URegina.ca:

An account of the freezing death of Andrew Gordon:

Leaderpost, Regina, Wednesday March 15, 1939:

Article regarding freezing death of Andrew Gordon.

“Neither young Gordon’s parents nor police knew of his disappearance from school [on Saturday] until visitors brought news to Mr. and Mrs. Gordon on Monday evening. Mr. Gordon started out to search for the boy Tuesday morning, and in the afternoon found the frozen body in the woods a mile from home and seven miles from the school.”

One student, who attended the Gordon’s, Saskatchewan, school, recalled the ways in which the churches competed against one another to recruit students.

“But when we look at the residential schools, you know, and the churches we recognize, you know, at least I’ve seen it, you know, that we’ve had these two competing religions, the Anglican and the Catholic churches both competing for our souls it seemed. You know, I remember growing up on the reserve here when they were looking for students. They were competing against each other. We were the prizes, you know, that they would gain if they won. I remember they, the Catholic priests coming out with, you know, used hockey equipment and telling us, you know, “Come and come to our school. Come and play hockey for us. Come and play in our band. We got all kinds of bands here; we got trombones and trumpets and drums,” and all that kind of stuff. They use all this stuff to encourage us or entice us to come to the Catholic school. And then on the other hand, the Anglicans, they would come out with what they called “bale clothes.” They bring out bunch of clothes in a bale, like, a big bale. It was all used clothing and they’d give it to the women on the reserve here, and the women made blankets and stuff like that out of these old clothes. But that’s the way they, they competed for us as people.(Survivors Speak, p.16-17)

Videos of Survivors telling their stories:

CBC Red Road Forward: Former students discuss memories of the residential school on Gordon First Nation. http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1430409511

Residential Schools & impact on Health Care TED talk

Dawn Tisdale

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