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Red Deer Industrial School

Residential Schools have left a lasting damaging history of trauma and accessing archival records and history may be harmful to some people. If you are a Survivor or intergenerational survivor of the Residential School System and would like emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419

General view of the Industrial School. Red Deer Archives, P10890

Red Deer Industrial School (1893-1919)

The Red Deer Industrial School opened as a residential school in 1893 in the District of Alberta, Northwest Territories. It was located west of Red Deer, across the river from Fort Normandeau. It was the first Methodist residential school to operate in the area. While the school was roughly the same size of similar institutions, it was unique in that it was located a significant distance from the Indigenous communities it was supposed to serve, with the nearest reserve being 65 kilometers away.

The school closed in 1919 due to the distance from Indigenous communities and deadly Spanish Flu and smallpox outbreaks. Five years later, the Methodists opened Edmonton (Poundmaker) Residential School. The school site temporarily housed Hebridian settlers (from Scotland) but was otherwise abandoned for years and is now on private property.

Red Deer Archives Records

The Red Deer Archives holds very few records directly from or about the Industrial School. The records we have identified so far containing information about the school are:

  • photographs, primarily an album collected by Alfred Hives who worked at the Industrial School and another album found by a cousin of Lawrence Tippie in an antique shop in Fort Scott, Kansas and sent to him because of his connection to Red Deer
  • a scribbler found at the site that is from the school’s era
  • City Council records discussing the history, people and location of the Industrial School
  • some video and audio interviews talking about the school and the site.

We add to this collection as we locate relevant records. You can view our collection here.

Click on this image to view the collection. Red Deer Archives, K3375.

Please note that we do not have all our records digitized. So if you are not finding a record you are looking for, or if you have questions or challenges accessing the digitized records, please contact us at archives@reddeer.ca or 403-309-8403.

Records in Other Collections

There are records located in other archives and collections that can support researchers learning about the school and the site. Links may be added or updated as we identify relevant collections and organizations.

Students of the Industrial School in a horse and buggy or wagon going in to Red Deer, Alberta. Image was likely taken as part of propaganda for the residential school. Red Deer Archives, P3319

Other Support and Further Assistance

If you are a Survivor or intergenerational survivor of the Residential School System and would like emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419

We know that archives and archival collections can be quite difficult to navigate for many researchers. If you have questions or other challenges accessing our records, please contact us at archives@reddeer.ca or 403-309-8403 and we will assist you.

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The City of Red Deer acknowledges the Indigenous traditional territories represented by Treaty 6 and Treaty 7 as the land the Archives is situated on. This land is also a historic Métis gathering site.