Saint John’s Indian Industrial School (Collegeville, MN)

Frater Dominis Hofmann, OSB, and students

In July 1884, at the request of Minnesota representative Knute Nelson, Saint John’s Abbot Alexius Edelbrock worked with the Catholic Indian Bureau to secure a government contract for an Indian Industrial School in Collegeville. On January 1, 1885, "Abbot Alexius came over the hill at Collegeville with fifty Indian boys." By 1888, Industrial School students made up nearly half (47%) of the student enrollment at Saint John’s. At its largest enrollments, the school had an average of 150 students from 1890-1896. In 1896, a combination of dwindling government funds, increased demand for space for other programs, and changes in attitudes about separation of church and state led to a decision to close the Indian Industrial School at Saint John’s. Abbot Peter noted in his diary that the Indian children had departed, “never to return.”  

 

 Photo gallery:

Old Stone House

Old Stone House

1890 Indian Industrial School

1890 Indian Industrial School

Shoe shop

Shoe shop

Schools for the Chippewa Indians, Conducted by the Fathers and Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict

Schools for the Chippewa Indians
Indian Boys Baseball Club

Indian Boys Baseball
Catalogue of St. John's Industrial School for Chippewa Indian Boys, Collegeville, Minn., 1888-'89

Catalogue of St. John’s

For more information about Saint John’s Indian Industrial Schools, see

Hoffmann, A. (1907).  St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota: a sketch of its history
Collegeville, Minn.: Record Press

Barry, C. (1994). Worship and work: Saint John's Abbey and University 1856-1992  
Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press

Reichert, T. (2005). “Red Lake, White Earth, and ‘Blackgowns’: the Indian Industrial Schools of St. John’s Abbey and St. Benedict’s Monastery, 1884-1896”.   Honors Thesis.

 

 

 

Saint John’s Indian Industrial School (Collegeville, MN)