By Cecile Fausak

Memorial Unveiled for four students of the Red Deer Industrial School whose graves were previously unmarked: Jane Baptiste, Georgina House, David Lightning, Sarah Soosay. Photo: Red Deer Advocate

On Thursday, September 28, the Remembering the Children Society hosted the unveiling of a memorial to remember four teenagers who died at the Red Deer Industrial School in 1918. It was a residential school run by the Methodist church, now part of The United Church of Canada. Many people from Red Deer, Maskwacis, Saddle Lake, and surrounding areas witnessed this time of lament and healing.

During the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918, the staff and students of the Red Deer Industrial School were so sick that the city undertaker needed to be called to attend to the burial of four children in the Red Deer City Cemetery rather than the residential school cemetery. The graves were unmarked. The Red Deer Industrial School had one of the highest mortality rates of any school in Canada. The names of the children buried at the Red Deer Cemetery are: David Lightning, Georgina House, Sarah Soosay, and Jane Baptiste. They are believed to be from Samson Cree Nation and perhaps from Paul Nation. Family members of only one of the children have been found – that of David Lightning – and his nephew, Richard Lightning, is the current President of the Society.

You’ll also find the Red Deer Advocate’s coverage and video of the Memorial Service HERE

Photos below by Cecile Fausak. Please click on a photo to see each image in a larger format.