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Mt. Elgin Industrial Institute – Indian Residential School


Chippewas of the Thames First Nation was home to an Indian Residential School from 1841 to 1949 called the Mt. Elgin Industrial Institute.  Read about Mt. Elgin – Click the link Mt. Elgin Industrial Institute – The Children Remembered


Many Chippewas of the Thames survivors today remember and are beginning to share their stories of their time as children there.  It is recent history in our community and the experience still scars our belief in modern education systems today. The community commissioned the production of a video called OUR HEALING JOURNEY  to document survivors telling their experiences in their own words.  The video was done in the early 2000’s, a time when very little was said about the Indian Residential School experience.  As a result, many questions were raised by Chippewa families who viewed it.  Learning and understanding is happening and healing is the result.


The truth is known. An Indian Residential School was here. We must design an education system for us by us to address the legacy of intergenerational trauma that such an institution instills.  This means our K-8 school called Antler River Elementary will need a community behind it where education occurs in home, in parks, in the bush, in community buildings, intergenerational,  formal and informal, hands-on, outdoor with traditional knowledge at its centre – everywhere with purpose and determination.


A barn is the last standing remnant of the school.  Etchings found on the walls further tell the children’s stories who lived there.  See a short video by the London Free Press about the etchings.   Click the link LFP- BARN ETCHINGS

So that we never forget the history of Indian Residential schools in Canada a monument was erected in 2012.  Each stone pillar contains names of children who attended Mt. Elgin Industrial Institute, otherwise known as the “Mushhole.”  Children attended from all over Ontario and Michigan. There are seven pillars, one for each of the Anishinaabe Seven Grandfather Teachings.

In 2013, statues made of bronze by Chippewa artist, Nancy Deleary of a boy student and girl student of Mt. Elgin Industrial Institute was erected at the community’s center.  This statue was in remembrance  of Chippewa, Munsee and Oneida students specifically who attended the school and the many children who never made it home.

Come visit the Heritage Centre for more information or call ahead to book a tour.