Friday 11 November 2011

Beauval Residential School in north-west Saskatchewan.

Beauval Residential School in 1924. The boys dormitory was on the top floor.
....see this school in 1908

The fire of 1927 in Beauval.
The epidemic of 1936 in Beauval.

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)

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. 
See its history in this link. (in three pages)
View 60 photos from 1914 to 1950's...Beauval Residential School and the village of Beauval

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 in 1873: "Our school continues to prosper; we have had for the whole year more than 30 student boarders. We have been teaching since the start of classes in 1873 both English and French."
"During the winter of 1873-1874 we have attempted to start a Cree school. The results have not been great however I am happy with it and the teacher is devoted to her work."
                                                                                               ...wrote Father Legeard of Ile a la Crosse

"Beauval Indian Residential School, located in Beauval Saskatchewan; opened 
in 1895; closed 1983. It was operated by the Roman Catholic Church. 
Following closure as an IRS (Indian Residential School) the facility became 
Meadow Lake Tribal Council's Beauval Indian Education Centre which

Beauval Residential School in 1924. This school burned down in 1927.
This school was completed in 1906.

In 1911 when Bishop Charlebois visited the Beauval School  he wrote that all the 44 children there were taught both French and English but that the use of French dominated.

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." wrote Father Penard.

"The loss of life breaks my heart. I cry. I cry without control. Very rarely has anything affected me so deeply." wrote Bishop Ovide Charlebois in a letter to his brother. (translation)

Sister Lea Bellerose had been teaching in Beauval since 1917 and spoke Cree fluently. She was in charge of the boys dormitory.

Beauval Indian School students

Beauval Indian School students

 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)

Beauval School in 1951

Beauval School during construction in 1930-31
....view a photo taken in the 1980's of the school.

1952 Beauval Residential School Yearbook
1953-54 Beauval Residential School Yearbook

Beauval Indian School chapel in August 1930.
It would later be connected to the new  school.

On October 24th. 1930 Bishop Ovide Charlebois wrote:
"We have completed the chapel of the future boarding school 
of Beauval. The chapel was begun last year. We actually have 
now a large church that can sit two hundred people, all built with 
solid brick, almost fire-proof and beautifully decorated.".......
"The bricks were made in place, just a few steps away..."      (translation)
Beauval Residential School being torn down after 1995.