St. Eugene Industrial School: 0052.0749

REPORT OF REV. FELIX BECK. – Principle of the Kootenay Industrial School, St. Eugene Mission, for the year ending March 21st, 1912.

            Accommodation. – The beautiful new building will provide accommodations for 80 children and a staff of 12 members.

            The parents are so anxious to have their children attend school that several on applying had to be refused owing to the want of room in the old buildings.

            Attendance. – Although the grant allowed is only for 60 children, there was an average attendance of 70.

            With permission of the Department ten of the pupils were discharged and ten others admitted.

            Class-room Work. – The school hours for the boys are from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m., with a half an hour of study in the evening and another half hour in the morning before school.

            The school hours fro the girls are from 1 to 4 p.m., with an hours study in the evening.

            The programme of studies authorized by the department has been closely followed.

            The subjects taught were reading, writing, spelling, grammar, history, arithmetic, geography, hygiene, catechism, bible-history, and exercises in calisthenics.

            The children are attentive, apply themselves and they have made satisfactory progress.

            Lessons were given in music, both vocal and instrumental.  The boy’s brass band and the girl’s string band are both under the training of R.W. Russell of Cranbrook.  They each receive a two hours lesson every week, and the selections rendered on several different occasions speak to their credit.

            The children are classified as follows:-


Standard I                                          15

Standard II                                         11

Standard III                                       13

Standard IV                                       17

Standard V                                          4

                                    Total               60

Farm and Garden. – There are 30 acres in connection with this institution, besides which 100 acres belonging to the Sisters of Charity are cultivated, in order to give the boys a thorough training in farming.  The first piece is partly laid out in an orchard which was so laden with fruit last year that many of the branches had to be propped up to prevent them breaking.

There is also a garden which produced an abundant supply of vegetables for kitchen use and for stock.

Industries Taught. – Under the supervision of the foreman, the boys received instruction in farming, gardening, carpentering, caring for the cattle, in fact everything requisite to keep a farm in good order and in good condition.

They are trained in the art of seeding, cultivating and harvesting by the use of the different kinds of agricultural implements.

They learn to put in practice lessons taught them in carpentry, by keeping the fences, walks and outbuildings in repair.

Some have learned shoe-making and mend all the children’s shoes and also the harness used on the farm.

The girls are trained in all kinds of work that appertains to good house-keeping, such as laundrying, house-cleaning, cooking, baking, dairying and sewing.  They make and mend all their clothes.  Some are quite proficient in dressmaking.  The children take a great interest in their work.

Moral and Religious Training. – Each day the children assist at Holy Mass and say their morning prayers in common.  On Sundays and Holy days they attend the public services in the church.

            Principles which lead them to love and respect God and those in authority are impressed upon them daily and on Thursdays they are particularly instructed by the principle (sic) himself.

            The children are constantly supervised by one or other of the members of the staff and they observe the rules well.

Health and Sanitation. – The children’s health has been good; the only exception having been a few cases of chicken-pox, which were very light.

They enjoy plenty of open air exercise and have sufficient, well-cooked, substantial food.

The ventilation is fairly good and the premises well kept.

The refuse water is carried off by means of the sewerage system and disinfectants are used wherever necessary.

Recreation. – All games suitable to the age and sex of the children are enjoyed by them, these varying with the seasons of the year.  The boys take great pleasure in skating, coasting, hockey, horseback riding, baseball, football, marble-playing and hunting and fishing.  The latter they find very plentiful in St. Mary’s river, and game is also plentiful in the vicinity.

The girls amuse themselves by skating, coasting, skipping, swinging, playing tag and such games.  They while away the winter evenings by round games, story-books, music and singing.

Ex-pupils. – Nearly all of the ex-pupils are living on the reserve.  Some of them are married and keep themselves and their homes in good order, everything neat and clean.  Those who are not married are living at home with their parents.  Among the former, those who have children old enough to attend school show their appreciation of education by placing their children in school as soon as they have reached the proper age.

General Remarks. – I cannot close this report without expressing my appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to the officers of the department, for having done so much towards obtaining for us the erection of the new building which is so badly needed.  Many more children can be taken and conveniently cared for, the results from whom are very promising, as the second generation who are much brighter than the first, are beginning to come to the school.  I also tender my sincere thanks to Inspector Green and Agent Galbraith, who have both taken such a deep interest in the welfare of our institution and rendered valuable assistance by their kind encouragement during their regular visits.

In the closing remarks of his report to the Department of Indian Affairs, Indian Agent R.L.T. Galbraith says:-

The ex-pupils of the Kootenay Industrial School continue to do excellent work amongst the different bands in the agency.  The industrious habits that they acquired at school are having a good effect amongst their people, and I note with satisfaction the intelligent way in which they carry out and complete what they undertake, and with very few exceptions they show a good example to the Indians as to temperance and morality.

0052.0749: St. Eugene Industrial School

Year end report from principal of Kootenay Industrial School at St. Eugene Mission, summarizing accomodation, attendance, classroom work, industries, religious training and recreation, with an emphasis on how ex students apply what they learned to live better lives on the reserve.

Medium:  Newspaper - Text
Date:  November 16, 1912
Pages:  5
Publisher:  The Prospector
Collection:  Columbia Basin Institute (0052)


report principle industrial school accomodation attendance subjects music children institution sisters of charity farming orchard garden religious chicken pox recreation indian


People arrow Beckarrow
People arrow Russellarrow
People arrow Galbraith, R.L.T.arrow
People arrow Greenarrow
First Nations arrow Ktunaxa arrow Reservesarrow
First Nations arrow Ktunaxa arrow Residential School Experiencearrow
Cities arrow St. Eugene Mission arrow Schools arrow Industrial Schoolarrow
Agriculture arrow Farmingarrow
Agriculture arrow Fruitarrow
Agriculture arrow Gardeningarrow
Government arrow Officials arrow Indian Agentsarrow
Cities arrow St. Eugene Mission arrow Cultural arrow Mission Boys Bandarrow
Cities arrow St. Eugene Mission arrow Cultural arrow Mission Girls' Bandarrow
Health arrow Nursing Sistersarrow


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