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Records of the Administration of Norway House Residential School, 1954-1967
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2 meters : textual records and other material.
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The residential school at Norway House had its beginnings as a Methodist boarding school that was opened 13 December 1899 as a means of delivering education to boys and girls from the northern reserves whose parents still followed a nomadic way of life. It was opened in response to requests from people of the district who thought that the Brandon school was too far away. It is also believed to have functioned for a time as an orphanage. The original school was destroyed by fire in 1913 and a new building was constructed that accommodated 96 children. This structure was in turn destroyed by fire in 1946. From 1946 to 1954 there was no residential school in operation at Norway House. The third residential school in Norway House opened in 1954 with a capacity of 150 children aged 6 to 16 years. Like other residential schools of the period, the school program emphasised the teaching of practical skills and instruction in agricultural practises, such as grain production, gardening and animal husbandry occupied much of the school day until the late 1950s. Children came to Norway House from 'United Church' settlements at northern reserves such as God's Lake, Oxford House, Red Sucker Lake, Island Lake, Nelson House, and Cross Lake as well as Norway House. Beginning in the early 1960s, as more day schools were opened in these communities, children from other faiths, especially Anglican, were admitted to the Norway House Residential School. These children came from communities such as Split Lake, Shamattawa and the Hudson's Bay Line. By 1965, it was apparent that the need for residential schools like that at Norway House was ending as First Nations people settled in permanent communities and more day schools were built. By 1967, enrolment had fallen from 150 to 61 and it was decided that the Norway House Residential School would soon be closed. Complete responsibility for administration of the school was transferred to the federal government's Department of Indian Affairs.
The records were delivered to the Conference Archives by Rev. Bernard Lee in 1979 prior to a move to take up a charge in Thunder Bay.
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Records include correspondence, reports, meeting notes, financial records, diaries, log books and other miscellaneous documents pertaining to the administration of Norway House residential school between 1954 and 1967. The majority of records described here were created by Bernard Lee, the last principal of the school, as part of his administrative duties between 1957 and 1967. Also included are miscellaneous documents created by previous school administrators.
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Access to material containing identifying information about individuals is restricted.
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File level description; box lists available; a detailed list of student names that appear in these folders has been prepared.
Related material: See the series 'Records of the Superintendents of Home Missions' for other records pertaining to Norway House Indian Residential School.
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