[reproduced 1990 (originally created 1868-1908)]
0.5 m of textual record and graphic material. - 358 photographs : 168 col., 84 col. slides (Kodachrone) 35 mm, tin type positives
Thematically by item types
Edward Francis Wilson was born in the Islington borough of London, England in 1844. His family were reform minded evangelicals, and he too imbibed that spirit. Having come to Canada to farm, he had the occasion to visit an Indian reservation in southern Ontario (Sarnia). He then decided that "God had called him here to minister to the Ojibways". Wilson was ordained in the Church of England in 1867.While visiting Reverend J. Chance, minister at Garden River, Wilson became interested in Chief Shingwauk and the northern Ontario Ojibways. When Chance was transferred Augustine Shingwauk requested that Wilson be appointed as minister to Garden River. He took up his post in 1872 and immediately began to campaign alongside the Shingwauk brothers for funds for a residential school for native children. He remained Principal of the Shingwauk Home until 1893 when he moved to British Columbia to retire. Most of Wilson's years as Principal were spent adhering to the philosophy that prevailed at the time. And this philosophy was "assimilation". He saw "little good" in the ways of the Ojibway and attempted through education to change their ways. This involved creating a distance between the native students and their families. The attempt to accomplish this was manifested in such methods as the banning of the use of any native language, except for one hour a day, and the constant ingraining of Christian doctrines into the students. In his last years at the Shingwauk, Wilson's ideas changed drastically. In The Canadian Indian, a journal he co-founded, he recommended autonomy for native people and supported the maintenance of their languages. It seems that as a result of his experience he was led to a profound change of philosophy regarding the native way of life. Having come to know and appreciate the native people he realized almost one hundred years ago that assimilation was wrong and would not work.|In any event, once begun, the basic idea of the residential school established at Shingwauk was carried on under the direction of his followers.
Fonds comprises textual records and images regarding the work of Edward F. Wilson, first principal of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School; and photographic reproductions of pages from Edward F. Wilson's "Autobiographical Journal: From Barnsbury, England to Barnsbury, Canada, 1868-1908". Fonds also includes original images in a photo album given to Principal Edward F. Wilson by the students of the Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools (1870-1893).
Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre