File consists of a telegram (n.d.) and a letter, dated Feb 27, 1919 (a typed copy from the original signed as a true copy by A.J. Hetherington and dated Sept 2, 1919) from Duncan C. Scott, Deputy Superintendent General of the Department of Indian Affairs, to Bishop John T. McNally. The telegram [date?] reads: “Would appreciate letter from you supporting our new measure now before Parliament of compulsory attendance at residential Indian schools.” Below the words of the telegram, there is a handwritten reply from Bishop McNally to Scott, which reads: “Assuredly I approve the idea of compulsory attendance at residential Indian schools, as most promising [agency?] for [forming future civilization and citizenship?]. Various details of act, however, are not yet clear to me. Am leaving for Ottawa, and hope to see you early next week.”
The letter, dated February 27, 1919, is regarding the St. Joseph’s Industrial School at Dunbow. In light of the recent death of Fr. Nordmann, O.M.I., principal of the school, Scott asks Bishop McNally for his “special consideration of the present position of this school.” The Department of Indian Affairs was considering whether the school should be closed. According to Scott, one of the department’s “chief difficulties” at the Indian industrial schools was preventing the students “from being exploited as mere wage earners” and ensuring that they were taught English by “persons who have a thorough command of the language.” Scott writes that if the Bishop will place an English-speaking priest in charge of the school, then the department will “postpone definite action to close the institution” and will “co-operate” with the Bishop in working to increase the school’s attendance and making the school “a vital factor in Indian education.”
The Dominion Government closed St. Joseph’s Industrial School in 1922.