When residential schools were established for Native people in Canada by the government of Sir John A. MacDonald, there were resisters.
This is a letter from an Indian agent to a store clerk in Calling Lake Alberta in 1935.
It was a request to have monthly rations for J.B Gambler cut off as punishment for removing his children from the Wabasca residential school.
Gambler refused to send his children back.
“When the Magistrate acting as Truant Officer went to him to regain possession of the children he used abusive language and threatened to shoot him,” says the letter signed W.P. L’Heureux.
“As the above mentioned J.B. Gambler is in receipt of a monthly ration, I have to order that the same be cut off entirely until such time as I am able to reverse my decision,” L’Heureux wrote to the store owner.
“This cannot be expected until the children are back at school at Wabasca and Gambler’s amends presented to the Principal and Magistrate there.”
At the time Native people were not allowed to leave the reserves without the permission of the local Indian Agent.
Unable to leave the reserve, rations were a heavy hammer to wield, forcing people to send their children to the residential schools so they were fed.
The letter is a stark evidence of the price paid by Native parents who did not comply with the residential school system.
Curtis Cardinal posted the letter from his great-great-great grandfather Jean-Baptiste Gambler on his Facebook page. He also gave permission to Red Power Media to post it.
The letter was found in a shed by Gwen Schmidt in July 2014.
By: Black Powder