Beauval Indian Residential School

Beauval (Lac La Plonge) Indian Residential School (1860 – 1995) was initially located in Île-à-la-Crosse, in what became Treaty 10 land. It became an official boarding school in 1897 with government funding for 12 children. In 1906, the Roman Catholic Mission that operated the school, moved the site at Lac la Plonge. The Mission ran the school until the federal government took control in 1969. The government worked in cooperation with the Board of Directors (comprised of the Chiefs of the Indian Bands in the Meadow Lake District) until the mid-70s, when the government transferred control of the residences to a First Nations parent group in response to their proposals. The school land became part of the La Plonge Indian Reserve in 1979. The Meadow Lake Tribal Council ran the school as the Beauval Indian Education Centre (an amalgamation of La Plonge High School and the Beauval Student Residence) from 1985 to 1995. The school buildings were demolished by former students in 1995.

Running Away
In 1946, Principal Gagnon requested the discharge of a boy who had run away from the school, and had convinced other boys to do the same. (The History, Part 2: 1939 to 2000, Vol. 1, p. 354.)

1927 Fire – Monument to 19 boys and one teacher who died when the convent and school burned to the ground

New school built out of bricks fabricated and prepared by the school

Written on back of photo: Beauval Ecole Fabrication + Prepartion de la brique pour la construction de 1928 Archives Deschatelets
Beauval brick making, Deschatelets Archive

Epidemics and student deaths (1935 – 1952)

Student Herman (Jacquot) Piche run over by truck driven by Principal Xavier Gagnon (Principal’s report, Bertrand Brown’s, Sister Tucker’s, and Marie Rose Couillenneur’s statements) July 2, 1942

RCMP Report of incident

Ile a la Crosse, Sask. Avant: PP.F.X. Gagnon, Guy Reimy, Mgr Lajeunesse, J. B. Ducharme, et P. Chamberland. Arriere: Frere Auguste Dudas, P. Giard, Joseph Bourbounais, Adrien Darveau et? Vicariat Apostolique du Keewatin. Dechatelets Archive

Survivor Stories

Mervin Mirasty said that at the Beauval, Saskatchewan, school, boys who were caught throwing snowballs were punished with blows to their hands from the blade of a hockey stick. “There was about thirty of us. Every one of us got ten smacks. Every one of us cried except one, one guy, and he refused to cry, but it hurt so much. at was for playing with the snowballs, being a kid, just playing around.”493 (The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada p. 142)

Mervin Mirasty told the Commission that both he and his brother were sexually abused at Beauval residential school: “To this day, I’ve always wanted to go back and burn the place, and I never did.” He also recalled that, “I ran away from school. I’d go out, I’d walk around town, and steal whatever I could steal … I started stealing cars, I got caught, at 15 I ended up in jail. From, from that point of 15 years old ’til I was, the year 2000, I got sentenced to 25 years all together … and I don’t know what I was fighting, what I was trying to do.”2 (Vol 5, p. 192)

Mervin Mirasty was told to take a lunch pail to a priest’s room. He had not been warned that boys who were sent on such errands were likely to be abused, as Mirasty was in this instance. When he returned, he felt that boys who knew what had happened to him were mocking him. “The boys looked at me, and some of the older ones, they were all smiling.” He warned his own brother to never take the lunch pail to the priest. “And to this day, I don’t know why he didn’t listen to me, like, he, he went up there I guess the next day, or soon after, he come back crying.”558 (The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada p. 156)

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On his first night at the Beauval, Saskatchewan, school, Albert Fiddler, who had never lived in a building with indoor plumbing before, wet his bed. As he recalled, in the morning, a priest threw me in over my knees in front of the kids there, screamed, “you wet your bed” or something. I understand a little bit here and there what they were saying, anyway, because I had heard a little English before here and there. He grabbed my little underwear open, which I had to wear I guess. Slapped my buttocks like crazy there so that I’d never do that again. No explanation, not even asking who I am, and who I, what the hell, and then he gave me in front of the whole, the kids to see me there being bare ass, and I don’t forget that.179 At the Beauval, Saskatchewan, school, Albert Fiddler recalled, Aboriginal languages were restricted to use in religious classes. But that’s the only thing they allow is learning how to pray in Cree. They won’t allow us to talk to each other, and they make sure that we don’t, we don’t talk to each other in Cree either. We only, they only teach us how to pray in Cree in catechisms in the classroom, but not to talk to each other because it’s un-polite for somebody that doesn’t understand Cree.158 (The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, p. 54)

An older boy was assigned by the school to help Albert Fiddler adapt to the school. However, the boy soon insisted that Albert give him his dessert at dinner. “So, I had to go out there, and sneak, and give him my, my sweet stuff, yeah, that’s how I was paying him for that. That’s how they were, they were doing that I guess. They had this little racket going on that they were, they get all the dessert from the small boys, or otherwise they will, like, it was more of a, they’re gonna protect us, or whatever.” In this case, bullying became increasingly sinister: eventually, the bully began to sexually abuse Fiddler.641 Fiddler was one of many students who were sexually abused by fellow students. Many more students reported such abuse in their statements.642 e assaults ranged from being forced to kiss someone, to being forced to simulate a sex act, to being raped. While, in some cases, victims were given small treats to encourage them to be silent, in other cases, they were told they would be killed if they reported the assault.643 (The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, pp. 186-187)

One of Albert Fiddler’s few positive memories of the Beauval, Saskatchewan, school revolved around sports. “I was a good athlete, I was a good hockey player, I was a good runner, I was a good jumper, so that I guess I started getting patted on the back. I started getting a little, a little bit of recognition as a, an athlete, so because I could outrun anybody, out-jump anybody. I was good ballplayer, so.” When Fiddler got into trouble at school, the priest who coached the school team spoke up on his behalf. “He didn’t want to lose his hockey player, he didn’t want to lose his runner, because we get, we’ll lose points if we want to compete.” Fiddler said the boys would often use department-store catalogues for shin pads, but a new principal had a greater interest in sports. (The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, p. 205)

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Raphael Victor Paul Survivors Speak (TRC)

Raphael Victor Paul spent 10 years at the Beauval, Saskatchewan, school. “I thought for a long time that I was better than my parents. That’s the thought that they gave you, because my parents didn’t talk English, but I did. My parents were very Catholic, and I was very Catholic, but I knew both languages, the catechism and all that. So, you get, I got the feeling that maybe I know more than my parents.”

His father believed that the residential school education had prevented his son and his friends from learning the skills they need to survive.

He said, “You know you guys that went to residential school are useless, because you don’t know how to survive like they did.” ’Cause they never taught us that, you know, how to. At that time, there was no welfare, there was, there was no running waters or lights, so we had to do all those things by ourselves, but we didn’t know how. So, the people that went back had to relearn how to survive. And at that time, survival was fishing, hunting, and trapping. To this day, I don’t know how to hunt. I can trap, I can fish, but I don’t know how to hunt, ’cause I, I was never taught that.380 (The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, p. 107)

saskatchewan-first-nations-lives-past-and-present-university-of-regina-canadian-plains-research-center-google-books-3saskatchewan-first-nations-lives-past-and-present-university-of-regina-canadian-plains-research-center-google-books-4

From Saskatchewan First Nations: Lives Past and Present

By University of Regina. Canadian Plains Research

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diptych1
Left: A swing set in Beauval, Saskatchewan, near the former site of the Beauval Indian Residential School. Right: A painting by Gordon Keewatin tells the story of the residential school system. From Daniella Zalcman’s Pictured With Their Past, Survivors of Canada’s ‘Cultural Genocide’ Speak Out

 


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Beauval school being torn down after 1995
Click to read
Sawmill at Lac la Plonge Mission, Saskatchewan Archives Board/GM_R-A10424


The above photos (L075-…) are from the Algomau Archives http://archives.algomau.ca/main/taxonomy/term/1284

Original description: Indian Res. School at the beginning. Transport with horses in winter, etc. Description SHSB-2007: In this photograph, there are Oblates walking behind a group of boys. A boy carries a cross in his hands, two other boys carry candles. They are outside near a building. Beside, there are piles of logs of wood behind a fence. Behind the building there are trees.
Original description: 7 girls from the same family. The eldest and the youngest. The youngest one at the Beauval school.

Original description: Indian Res. School at the beginning. Transport with horses in winter, etc. Description SHSB-2007: In this photograph, there are two men and two women standing behind a woman and two girls kneeling and a boy sitting. They are standing and kneeling in the grass near a body of water and tents. To the right of the photograph, there is a person standing near the boats at the edge of the water.
Original description: Indian Res. School at the beginning. Transport with horses in winter, etc. Description SHSB-2007: In this photograph, there are four men with sleds pulled by dogs. They are in the snow. Behind, there are trees
Original description: Indian Res. School at the beginning. Transport with horses in winter, etc. Description SHSB-2007: In this photograph, there is a large crowd of people on both sides of a fence located at the shore of a body of water. There is a dock on which there are a few people. Next to the wharf there are two canoes. There are several trees on the shore. There are some flags also on the shore
Original description: Marie Louise Opikokew and her daughter (Vis. Past. 16-22 June) Description SHSB-2007: Photograph of two women standing in front of a leafy tree on a dirt road

Family of Mons. Kimbly Mons. Edouard Kimbly is an employee of the Beauval Mission
ca. 1947 Original description: Lajeunesse, Mgr Martin, O.M.I. Perrault, R.P. Jos-Edouard, O.M.I. Sr. Laramée and his students School of the village (2 miles from the mission)
Original description: Indian Res. School at the beginning. Transport with horses in winter, etc. Description SHSB-2007: In this photograph, there are three Oblates and a woman standing in front of shrubs. One of the Oblates has his hands on his hips. Behind, there are several trees without leaves
Original description: (Group) Mgr. Martin Lajeunesse o.m.i., J. M. Penard Pter, o.m.i., Oblate Fathers and Brothers, Children and Indians. Feast of R.P. J. M. Pénard o.m.i. his golden wedding of priests. (Missionary retreats preached by RP Turcotte, OP Beauval, September 13, 1937, RP Ducharme, Jos Cote, Dallaire, St-Arnaud, RP Remy, RP Ls Moraud, RPFX Gagnon, RP Bleau, RP Pénard, RP Turcotte, RP Rossignol, RPJ-E Trudeau, RPJ Bourbonnais, RPH Rinard, RP Pioget and Raphael (Leader of Clair Lake) Description SHSB-2006: Photograph taken on the occasion of the priestly golden wedding of Father Jean-Marie Peninsula omi The celebrations were held in Beauval, Saskatchewan, and the Oblates and parishioners gathered in front of the Beauval Residential School can be seen on the photograph, and among the people gathered are Martin Lajeunesse, Jean-Marie Pénard, Jean -Baptiste Ducharme, Joseph Côté, Brother Dallaire, Brother E. St-Arnaud, Guy Remy, Louis Moraud, François-Xavier Gagnon, Victor Bleau, [Aristide?] Turcotte, Marius Rossignol, George-Stephen Trudeau, Joseph Bourb Onnais, André Rivard, Paul Pioget and Raphael (leader of Lac Clair).
Original description: Oblate Fathers and Brothers of M.I. Rev Gray Nuns Children of the Beauval School
Original description: Bleau, R.P. Edouard, O.M.I Children Montagnais (5) Children of the Rivière-au-Bœuf at the Indian School of Beauval. Description SHSB-2007: Photograph of an Oblate and five children standing on an ice rink. Three of the boys stand on the low walls surrounding the ice. Two of the children wear moccasins.
Pères et Frères Oblats de M.I. Révdes Sœurs Grises Enfants de l’école de Beauval

Joseph Gordon Edechanchyonce- Beauval Indian Residential School 1959-1969 “It’s hard for me to really love my children. I grapple with the word love…” Signs of your Identity by Danielle Zalcman
VICTOR MISPOUNAS Beauval Indian Residential School 1955-1964 in Signs of Your Identity by Danielle Zalcman
VICTOR MISPOUNAS Beauval Indian Residential School 1955-1964 in Signs of Your Identity by Danielle Zalcman
Les Scholastiques du Reservation en 1920 … en avant Le R.P Trudeau, MGR, [Reverend J.M. Penard?], R. P Doyen en ariere R.P. Desmoreaux, Hiberts, Cabana


Grey Nuns at Beauval, ca. 1936, St. Boniface Historical Society Archives, Corporation archiepiscopale catholique romaine de Keewatin Le Pas


Convicted Sexual Abusers

Paul Leroux (From Sylvia’s Site)

The choir, known as the “Beauval Indian Boys,” recorded an album under Leroux’s direction.311(The History, Part 2, 1939 to 2000, Vol. 1, p. 450)

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Paul-Leroux-gets-3-years-for-residential-school-abuse-Saskatoon-CBC-News
beauval
Sound files:

Norbert Dufault

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In 2011, the Oblate publication Info Lacombe published a two-page profile on Dufault that mentioned the years he spent in Dillon and Beauval, emphasizing the personal sacrifices he had made in his career. No mention was made of his convictions. (The History, Part 2, 1939 to 2000, Vol. 1, p. 449)