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Archives Subject Guide: Indigenous Collections


The Division of Archives and Research Collections holds a limited quantity of records pertaining to the Canadian Indian Residential School System and its impacts and legacies. Researchers interested in learning more about this area are encouraged to consult the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives. 


Dr. Basil H. Johnston (1929-2015), a renowned Ojibway language preserver, author, and ethnologist, was a survivor of the Spanish Indian Residential School (St. Peter Claver School for Boys) in Spanish, Ontario. He published a book about his experiences in 1988, Indian School Days. Dr. Johnston’s archive also contains a series of records related to his experiences—see particularly series 9, “Residential Schools.” Record types in the series include reports gathered by Dr. Johnston, correspondence, and his own notes and article drafts about his experiences.

Gladys McAndrew was a member of Christ’s Church Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton, Ontario in the mid-20th century. McAndrew participated for 20 years in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Anglican Church and the Dominion Dorcas, groups which focussed on supporting missionary work and fundraising for Indian residential schools.

McAndrew was involved with the supply department of the Auxiliary, and in 1943 was appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the Dorcas. Her archive contains financial records from the Dorcas for the period 1943-1954. Record types include treasurer’s reports, financial statements, meeting minutes, receipts, and various appeals. These records provide detailed information about life at several residential schools, particularly the St. Barnabus Indian Residential School (Onion Lake) (later replaced by the Prince Albert Residential School) in Saskatchewan.

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