I do not see my grandfather in the group photo above. He was
born in 1867 and I remember him only when he was in his 80s and I was a
child of less than six. I saw him rarely as our family (my father was son
Charles) lived in a different location. I do have a photo of him, likely
taken sometime in the 1890s but am unable to match it (ears, hairline,
trademark moustache) with any of the men in the Brandon School group photo.
My aunt's research indicates he was definitely on staff at that time, and
it probably doesn't matter whether he is in the photo. What is important
is that the photo is in pretty good shape for being more than 110 years
old and should prove interesting to other generations.
Writing on the back of one of the photos suggests that T. B. Barner,
the photographer, was on staff at the school. (Addendum: A woman
in Saskatchewan, a great-great grand-daughter of T. B. Barner, contacted
me after seeing this page and, in her words, “The balding staff member
with the long impressive beard on the left of the staff group is T. B.
Barner, the man who took some of the other photos. The photo is likely
to have been taken before November 1902 (approx) since T. B. Barner had
moved to Saskatchewan by then.)
A great-great grandson of T. B. Barner contacted me after seeing
this page and sent me a group photo of staff and students at the Brandon
Industrial School (below). My grandfather is at the
far left in the back row.
The miniature here comes from that photo. (courtesy of Larry Harris,
I feel that the photos are of historical significance because they show
a rich and ancient culture in the process of becoming "civilized" to adhere
to European standards. I suppose at the time the
thought they were doing the right thing. I found a quote on another site
that reflects my view (albeit from a much later perspective) and I'd like
to share it.
"Why should we expect that Indians alone, of all people, should be quietly
ready to give up all old customs and traditions and language, and adopt
those of the aggressor on their soil? The change which we expect the Indian
to make, and make so quickly, is a far greater one than is required of
any of those nations above enumerated [Germany, Sweden, France, Italy],
who have left the shores of one civilized country to come to those of another.With
the Indian, the change is a radical one—a change of dress, a change
of dwelling, a change in mode of gaining livelihood, a social change, a
religious change, an educational change a totum in toto change.
And this—not so much for his own benefit, as for our own convenience. We
want the land. We cannot have Indian hunters annoying our farmers and settlers.
If the Indian is to remain, we expect him to be a decent neighbour; and
to be a decent neighbour, we expect him to accept our religion, our education,
our laws, and our customs. We allow him no choice and we allow him no time."
(Attributed to E.F. Wilson, Principal of Shingwauk Residential School.
May 1891. The Canadian Indian. Vol. 1, No. 8) (from site: Regina
Indian Industrial School)
I would like to conclude by mentioning that, according to my father
and aunt, my grandfather was a very tolerant individual with a fine sense
of humour. He was hard-working, had an open mind and was not wont
to impose his beliefs on others. (Addendum: Since this report
was first posted, I have gained access to all my aunt’s family research
and hope to uncover more details about my grandfather’s experiences in