Letter book


Edward F. Wilson

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4.3 cm of textual records.

1 v., 711 p.


Condition: fair

Subject tags: Algoma Missionary News, American Indian Boarding Schools, Anishinaabemowin, apprenticeship, Blackfoot language, blacksmithing, bootmaking, building activities, carpentry, church societies, curriculum, Department of Indian Affairs, Diocese of Algoma activities, donations, Elkhorn Indian Home, farming, finances, funding, funding problems, fundraising, government contacts, government funding, government policy, Indian Agents, Indian Residential School System, Indigenous communities, Indigenous cultures, Indigenous languages, missionary work, Our Forest Children, physical punishment, public opinion, publications, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, religion, religious rivalries, school expansion, school governance, school inspections, school repairs, school reports, school supplies, sewing, staffing, student activities, student clothing, student death, student diet, student families, student health, student occupation, student recruitment, student retention, student support, student uniforms, tailoring, The Canadian Indian, trades, waggon making, Wawanosh 

The letters in this book are from Edward F. Wilson to a number of different people, including church staff and officials, Indian Agents, Government officials, donors, Shingwauk and Wawanosh staff, his family, and Indigenous community members. Many letters relate to the national Indian Residential School System. Wilson came up with plans to build multiple homes including in Sarnia, Banff, and Elkhorn (where he did build the Washkada Indian Home), and to further expand Shingwauk. In these letters about the wider system, Wilson talks about government funding and religious affiliations of the schools. He makes a lot of comparisons between the Canadian system and the American system, especially when it comes to government involvement and public opinion. Wilson was concerned particularly with the thought that the government favoured Roman Catholic schools, and felt that Roman Catholic influence on Indigenous communities was a huge problem that needed to be solved. There are a number of letters related to the school’s involvement in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebration in Montreal. Wilson travelled with approximately 30 students in order to demonstrate the work being done at the school, and then continued on to visit Ottawa with the children in order to fundraise. He then planned to do the same type of demonstration in England to increase interest in the Homes and therefore funding, but this fell through and never happened. Near the end of the book many of the letters deal with Indigenous cultures and Indigenous languages as Wilson was interested in learning about them in order to compare with Ojibwe culture and language and to write ethnology reports for the Smithsonian and British association. Other prominent topics include student activities, staffing, and school publications. 

Blackfoot language letter on page 461

To view a PDF flipbook version of the book on the Internet Archive, click here, or scroll down for a downloadable version.


Algoma University Archive
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