Manitoba

Who are the children who died at Manitoba's residential schools? These are the names we know

In Manitoba, at least 338 children died at the province’s residential schools or within a year of leaving the schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found. But the names of almost half aren't known.

At least 338 children never returned home from Manitoba's schools, but names of almost half aren't known: TRC

A group of students and a nun pose in a classroom at Cross Lake Indian Residential School in Cross Lake, Man., in February 1940. (Reuters/Library and Archives Canada)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Following the preliminary discoveries of unmarked graves at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, calls have rippled across Canada for similar searches at other sites to get a more accurate answer to a troubling question:

How many Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes, never to return again?

In Manitoba, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined at least 338 children who were forced to attend the schools died either during their time there, or within a year of being discharged from the school.

The latter includes those who died in a hospital or sanatorium after being transferred there — a common practice at residential schools when students were suffering from terminal illness, the TRC's final report notes.

Of those 338 students, only 164 — just under half — were on the commission's named register.

But the actual count could be higher. 

That number only includes students at the 14 Manitoba schools that fell under the federal Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. There were many more institutions Indigenous children were forced to attend, including day schools and sites that were run without government support.

Some of the residential school deaths that are known about aren't linked to a particular school. Others may have gone undocumented.

Children at residential schools died at a much higher rate than those in the general population, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission says, and the causes ranged from accidents to untreated illnesses to suicides. 

Most of the time, the practice was to not send their bodies back to their home communities, the commission's Missing Children and Unmarked Burials Project found.

Today, some are only identified by one name. Others have no known date of death.

Here are the names of the residential school students in Manitoba who are known to have died and their recorded date of death, according to years of research compiled by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

Assiniboia Residential School 

  • Grant Ross (died on March 20, 1971).
The Assiniboia Residential School in Winnipeg was open from 1958 to 1973, according to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)

Birtle Residential School

  • Agnes Ben (died between March 11 and April 16, 1930).
  • Amelia Bunn (died on Jan. 1, 1934).
  • Caroline Bunn (died in December 1939).
  • Elsie (died in 1902 or 1903).
  • Elsie Blackbird (date of death unknown).
  • Emma Bird (died on Oct. 3, 1934).
  • Frank Hunting Hawk (died on Feb. 16, 1925).
  • Fred Kashananilowlgran (date of death unknown).
  • Julie Bunn (died on June 20, 1938).
  • Mary F. Keewatincappo (died on March 18, 1935).
  • Michael Peter Perswain (died on Jan. 26, 1964).
  • Patrick Tanner (date of death unknown).
  • Ruben Sandyou (date of death unknown).
  • Sanderson (date of death unknown).
  • Silas Haneka (date of death unknown).
  • Stephen Jandreau (date of death unknown).
  • Watson Huntinghawk (died around Jan. 1, 1944).
  • Willie Desjarlais (date of death unknown).
At least 18 children died at the Birtle Residential School. (Heather Reimer/For CBC News)

Brandon Residential School

  • Adam Muskego (date of death unknown).
  • Alex Ross (died on Jan. 27, 1902).
  • Alfred Thomas (died on October 26, 1905).
  • Annabelle Spence (died on July 5, 1943).
  • Annie Ross (died on Oct. 8, 1914).
  • Archie Cochrane (died on June 24, 1901).
  • Arthur Baptiste (date of death unknown).
  • Bella Moar (died on April 21, 1923).
  • Chester Moore (date of death unknown).
  • David Moar (died on Nov. 26, 1902).
  • Edgar Mcrae (died on Dec. 15, 1908).
  • Edith Michell (died on June 2, 1912).
  • Edward Fiddler (died on July 18, 1956).
  • Edward Murdock (died on Dec. 7, 1898).
  • Eleanor Hall (died on Dec. 27, 1941).
  • Elijah Staomer (died on June 1, 1897).
  • Elizabeth Papaseqwanape (died on Jan. 1, 1898).
  • Eva Perrish (died on April 11, 1903).
  • Flora Bella Thomas (died on April 16, 1923).
  • Frederick Baptiste (date of death unknown).
  • George Frog (died on Feb. 17, 1905).
  • Henry Swanson (died on Aug. 7, 1940).
  • Isbester Ross (died on May 9, 1903).
  • Isiah Bittern (died on March 4, 1908).
  • James Campbell (died on Feb. 3, 1907).
  • James Laugher (died in August 1897).
  • James Okemow  (died on Nov. 25, 1896).
  • Janet Moar (died on Oct. 4, 1908).
  • Janet Tait (died on Jan. 24, 1909).
  • Jannet Ross (died on Oct. 12, 1900).
  • Jennie Twobear (died on Jan. 1, 1913).
  • John Charles Mcdonald (died on Aug. 31, 1896).
  • John Harper (died on Jan. 1, 1907).
  • John Hastings (died on Nov. 3, 1902).
  • John Knott (died on March 31, 1911).
  • John Peel (died on Jan. 16, 1899).
  • John Ross (died on Jan. 1, 1902).
  • Joseph Oig (date of death unknown).
  • Joseph Thibault (died on May 23, 1906).
  • Josius Taylor (died on Sept. 5, 1949).
  • Kissememow Sinclair (died June 6, 1899).
  • Lillie Walker (died on May 2, 1905).
  • Lizzie Mackland (died on June 16, 1903).
  • Lydia Moore (died on Sept. 11, 1896).
  • Madeline Colin (died on Feb. 18, 1904).
  • Maria Evans (died on May 11, 1905).
  • Maria Murdock (died on March 3, 1909).
  • Mary Captain (died on March 30, 1902).
  • Mary Jane Ross (died on April 11, 1907).
  • Mary Sutherland  (died on Nov. 30, 1933).
  • Matilda Colin (died on Oct. 19, 1903).
  • Matthew Two Bear (date of death unknown).
  • Nancy Mcpherson (died on June 10, 1906).
  • Nancy Sinclair (died on June 30, 1907).
  • Nora John (died on June 9, 1920).
  • Nora Wasecunna (died on June 16, 1905).
  • Oliver Cochrane (died around 1942).
  • Oliver Moore (date of death unknown).
  • Peter Chubb (died in October 1898).
  • Phillip Mcnabb (died on March 6, 1897).
  • Roderick Beardy (died on April 16, 1949).
  • Sam Young Skunk (died on Sept. 26, 1932).
  • Sarah Bird (died on July 9, 1905).
  • Sarah J. Sinclair (died on March 15, 1909).
  • Solomon Hamilton (died on May 12, 1903).
  • Stanley Crate (date of death unknown).
  • Susie Keysick (died on Jan. 1, 1920).
  • Stephen Franklin (date of death unknown).
  • Thomas Dickson  (died on Aug. 24, 1903).
  • Tommy Captain (died on Aug. 14, 1896).
  • Victoria Trout (died on May 11, 1902).
  • William Hamilton (died on June 25, 1903).
  • William Thomas (died on June 28, 1899).
  • Willie Ross (date of death unknown).
  • Willie Sutherland (died in August 1905).
  • Zaccheus Minow (died on Nov. 16, 1897).
The first Brandon residential school building opened in 1895, according to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)

Churchill Residential School

  • Pauloosie Meeko (died on Nov. 17, 1968).
While its buildings were demolished in 1981, former military base Fort Churchill was once home to a residential school. (Manitoba Historical Society)

Cross Lake Residential School

  • Agnes Thomas (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Annie Crane (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Betsie Osborne (died on May 13, 1946).
  • Charlotte Mercredi (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Christie Ross (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Clémence Cook (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Connell Memekisik (died on Aug. 15, 1943).
  • David Menow (died on May 30, 1947).
  • Emile Dumas (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Etienne Colombe (died on Dec. 29, 1960).
  • Hyla Crate (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Hyla Moose (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Illa Frogg (died on Aug. 1, 1930).
  • Jane Mckay (died in May 1945).
  • Job Andrew Flett (died on Dec. 8 or Dec. 28, 1960).
  • Lily Ross (died on Feb. 25, 1943).
  • Margaret Jane Bee (died on May 29, 1942).
  • Marie Reine Scatch (died on June 21, 1945).
  • Martha Rivers (died on June 24, 1943).
  • Martha Scott (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Mary Ann François (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Mary Dixon (died on June 11, 1943).
  • Nancy Flett (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Nora Blacksmith (died on Feb. 25, 1930).
  • Norman Mckay (died on Aug. 15, 1943).
  • Silas Thomas Frog (date of death unknown).
  • Stella Keeper (died on June 24, 1943).
  • Therese Thomas (died on Aug. 29, 1943).
  • Thomas Ross (died on Jan. 1, 1942).
  • William Miller (died on Aug. 9, 1942).
The Cross Lake Residential School closed in 1969. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)

Elkhorn Residential School

  • Adam Oochoo (died on Jan. 1, 1930).
  • Albert Morrison (date of death unknown).
  • Albert Upistipas (died on March 14, 1907).
  • Alick Sinclair (died on June 17, 1905).
  • Allan Pukski (died on Jan. 1, 1895).
  • Bob Reddish Gun (died on Jan. 1, 1894).
  • Christine Redhead (date of death unknown).
  • David Tatizoyhema (died on Jan. 22, 1906).
  • Dummy Bad Boy (date of death unknown).
  • Elizabeth Rose (died on Jan. 1, 1926).
  • Emma Beardy (died on April 12, 1927).
  • George Maningway (died on Feb. 10, 1925).
  • Henry Marsden (died on Jan. 1, 1925).
  • Lillian Brass (date of death unknown).
  • Mary Ann Robinson (date of death unknown).
  • Mary Jane Cook (died on July 21, 1906).
  • Moses Beardy (date of death unknown).
  • Pata (died on Jan. 1, 1895).
  • Philip Brightnose (date of death unknown).
  • Philip Redhead (died on April 20, 1933).
  • Rachel Henderson (died on July 16, 1904).
  • Robert Mcgibbon (died on Jan. 1, 1897).
  • Roy Umpherville (died in November 1939).
  • Sarah Spence (date of death unknown).
  • Steven Stevens (date of death unknown).
  • William Head (date of death unknown).
Elkhorn Residential School shut down in 1949. The building was demolished in 1951. (Manitoba Historical Society)

Fort Alexander Residential School

  • Adelside Flett (date of death unknown).
  • Barnadette Bruyere (date of death unknown).
The Fort Alexander Residential School closed in 1970. (George Harris Fonds/Archives of Manitoba)

Guy Hill Residential School

  • Helen Betty Osborne (died on Nov. 13, 1971).
  • Mary Dettanekease (died on June 24, 1964).
  • Peter Bighetty (died on May 10, 1967).

McKay Residential School

  • Clara Moore (date of death unknown).
  • George Martin (died on Feb. 5, 1933).
  • Janet Moose (died on Feb. 16, 1933).
  • Joseph Star (died on Jan. 1, 1932).
  • Maria Lathlin (died on Jan. 1, 1932).
  • Nora Jane (date of death unknown).
  • Sinclair Anderson (died on April 15, 1905).
  • Stella Constant  (died on April 14, 1905).
  • Wilfred Stewart (died on April 28, 1930).
The former McKay Residential School is pictured. (Manitoba Historical Society)

Norway House Residential School

  • Absolam Monias (died on April 12, 1940).
  • Bella Maminawatum (died on Feb. 15, 1941).
  • Caroline Simpson (date of death unknown).
  • Eliza Keno (died on May 5, 1940).
  • Elizabeth Sinclair (date of death unknown).
  • Harriet Munro (died on Sept. 10, 1940).
  • Isla Little (died on March 12,1959).
  • James Muswaggan (died on April 17, 1918).
  • John Keeper (date of death unknown).
  • Levi Harper (died on July 15, 1940).
  • Madaline Monday (died on May 15, 1918).
  • Madeleine Monias (date of death unknown).
  • Sophia Queskakpo (died on Aug. 24, 1940).
The former residential school in Norway House. (Submitted by Dr. Verna Kirkness)

Notre Dame Hostel

  • There are no documented deaths associated with this residential school.
The Notre Dame Hostel was located near Norway House. It closed in 1967. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)

Pine Creek Residential School

  • Albert Nepinak (died on April 8, 1951).
  • Alexander Cook (died on July 29, 1938).
  • Cecilia Catcheway (died on Jan. 1, 1946).
  • Charles Morrisseau (died on Dec. 16, 1951).
  • Domistille Nepinak (died on Aug. 16, 1933).
  • Florence Nepinak (died on Jan. 1, 1943).
  • George Mckay (died on Jan. 1, 1940).
  • Helen Kemp (died around Jan. 1, 1919).
  • Ida Kakiwash (died on Aug. 22, 1942).
  • Louis (Pine Creek) (date of death unknown).
  • Maggie Moore (died on Oct. 25, 1934).
  • Margaret St. Paul (died on Jan. 1, 1940).
  • Mary Kirkness (died on Jan. 1, 1925).
  • Raymond Eagle (died on May 26, 1944).
  • Richard Cook (died on Sept. 4, 1938).
  • Sarah Jane Catcheway (died in 1944 or 1945).
  • Sarah Jane Eagle (died on Sept. 12 or 13, 1943).
  • Sophie Moore (died on Dec. 25, 1934).
  • Theodore Cook (died on Dec. 2, 1935).
  • Theresa Thomas (died on May 24, 1942).
The Pine Creek Residential School was demolished in 1972. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Archives)

Portage la Prairie Residential School

  • Bernadette Hart (died on Jan. 8, 1974).
  • Edith Chaske (died on Jan. 31, 1912).
  • Eric Meham (died on Jan. 1, 1974).
  • James Hobson (died on Jan. 1, 1941).
  • Rupert Tanner (died on Aug. 15, 1940). 
A drawing of the former Portage la Prairie Residential School.

Sandy Bay Residential School

  • Arthur Mousseau (died on Jan. 30 or 31, 1937).
  • Bella Desjarlais (died on Jan. 15, 1920).
  • Clifford Swan (died on June 15 or 18, 1948).
  • Harvey Wilson Beaulieu (died on Dec. 31, 1950).
  • Jean Baptiste Hunter (died on Nov. 15, 1926).
  • Lawrence Clear Sky (died on Nov. 1, 1937).
  • Mabel Houle (died on April 16, 1920).
  • Mary A. Desjarlais (died on March 12, 1928).
  • Mary Bone (died on Aug. 31, 1946).
  • Masie Bella Whetford (died on Dec. 16, 1936).
  • Patrick Beaulieu (died on Nov. 23, 1937).
  • Philomene Mcivor (died on May 3, 1944).
  • Russell Rufus Cook (died in September 1953).
  • Veronique Levasseur (died on May 18, 1932).
  • William Manijins (died on March 11, 1947).
  • William Richard (died in November 1920).
Students and clergy at Sandy Bay Residential School in the 1930s. (La Société historique de Saint-Boniface)

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Renée Lilley is a reporter for CBC Manitoba. She is a recent University of Winnipeg grad with a BA in rhetoric and communications. She has reported on radio and online news in her hometown of Portage la Prairie. She is also a proud Métis mama of four girls.

With files from Caitlyn Gowriluk

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