GUIDE TO CATHOLIC RECORDS ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE U.S.
Volume 3: Western United States
Washington: WA-23

Sisters of Charity of Providence. Mother Joseph Province. Archives
4800 Thirty-seventh Avenue Southwest
Seattle, WA 98126

Phone: 206-937-4600
Email: archives@providence.org

 

Hours: See website

Access: Some restrictions may apply

Copying facilities: Yes

 

History: Blessed Emilie Tavernier-Gamelin founded the Sisters of Providence in Montreal, 1843, as the Sisters of Charity of Providence. The sisters have self-identified with first the post-nominal initials, “F.C.S.P.” and then, “S.P.” Under Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1822-1902), the sisters made their first U.S. foundation in Vancouver, Washington, 1856, which developed into two provinces.

Sacred Heart Province (Seattle/ Vancouver, Washington) for Alaska, California, Oregon, and western Washington

St. Ignatius Province (Spokane/ Missoula, Montana) for Idaho, Montana, and eastern Washington

The provinces merged as the Mother Joseph Province (Seattle, Washington), 2000. Mother Joseph Province and its predecessors have administered the following Providence schools and educational ministries among Native Americans in the Northwest:

1857-1966 (closed)

Providence Academy (e.g. Métis, Cowlitz), Vancouver/ Fort Vancouver, Washington

1864-1919 (transferred to Ursulines)

Providence of the Holy Family/ St. Ignatius School (Kalispel, Salish), St. Ignatius, Flathead Reservation, Montana

1868-1901 (transferred to U.S. Government)

Our Lady of Seven Dolors School (Clallam, Tulalip), Tulalip, Tulalip Reservation, Washington

1873-1921 (closed)

Providence of the Sacred Heart School (Chelan, Entiat, Methow, Nespelim, Nez Perce, Okanogan, Paloos, Sanpoil, Senijextee, Wenatchi), Colville/ Fort Colville, Washington

1875-1969 (transferred to Yakima Diocese)

St. Joseph School/ Academy (Yakama), Yakima, Washington

1876-1898 (closed)

Providence of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School (Cowlitz), Cowlitz, Washington  

1878-1974 (closed)

Providence of Mary Immaculate School (Coeur d’Alene), De Smet, Coeur d’Alene Reservation, Idaho

Providence religious education and summer programs in Alaska:

1952-1957

Nome (Eskimo)

1960-1965, 1969

Kotzebue (Eskimo)

1963-1969, 1970-1972

Tanana (Eskimo), Ruby (Koyukon), and Galena (Koyukon)

1967

Barrow (Eskimo)

1973

Newtok (Eskimo)

 

Holdings of Catholic records about Native Americans: 

Inclusive dates: 1856-ongoing

Volume: Ca. 22.9 cubic feet 

Description: 12 record groups in three collections (some unprocessed) contain records about Native Americans:

 

Providence Health and Services Collection:

/1 “Record Group 22, “Providence Academy, Vancouver, Washington” 

Inclusive dates: 1856-1966

Volume: Ca. 1 cubic foot 

Description: French, in part

A. “History”: Chronicles 1856-1966, histories and notes, correspondence

B. “Reports”: Personnel and Works Report, 1856-1966, annual financial reports with statistics such as number of sisters, students, employees, ministries, and financial data

C. “Student records”: Registers of boarders and orphans

D. “Publications, topical files, scrapbooks”

 

/2 ”Record Group 33, Providence of the Holy Family /St. Ignatius Indian School, St. Ignatius, Montana” 

Inclusive dates: [1864-1919]-1977 

Volume: Ca. 2 cubic feet

Description: French, in part

A. “History”: Chronicles, 1864-1977; 50th anniversary, 1914; St. Ignatius centenary, 1964. Also includes Holy Family Hospital, St. Ignatius, Montana, Chronicles, 1864-1957

B. “Student records”: Registers, 1864-1919

C. “Native American health care”: Flathead Indian Reservation Health Care History; List of Acts on Indian Healthcare, 1963-1968

 

/3 “Record Group 36, Providence of Our Lady of Seven Dolors School, Tulalip, Washington” 

Inclusive dates: 1868-1901 

Volume: Ca. .8 cubic foot 

Description: Unprocessed; French, in part.  

A. “History,” 1867-1901, ca. .25 cubic foot; chronicles, histories and notes, and correspondence; notable authors include Reverend E. Casimir Chirouse, O.M.I., Sisters Philomene, S.P., and Benedict, S.P., mission superiors, Reverend John Baptist A. Brouillet, Vicar General of Niqually, Bishop Edward O’Dea, and government Indian agents

B. “Financial,” 1868-1901, ca. .25 cubic foot; administrative and personnel reports and expense and receipt ledgers noting number of sisters, students, employees, and ministries at the school

 

/4 ”Record Group 45, “Providence of the Sacred Heart School, Fort Colville, Washington” 

Inclusive dates: 1873-1921

Volume: Ca. 1 cubic foot  

Description: French, in part. 

A. “History”: Chronicles, 1873-1921; correspondence, 1866-1880, 1917-1921; Preliminary Inventory of Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Colville Indian Agency, including the Spokane Agency, 1865-1952, Record Group 75, National Archives and Records Administration, 1965, 1966, 1973

B. “Student records”: Boarding School Quarterly Report (lists students in attendance), 1916-1917, 1920; applications and correspondence, re: expenditure of individual Indian money, 1914-1917

C. “Reports,” 1874-1922: Comprised of personnel and work reports and annual financial reports with statistics such as number of sisters, students, employees, ministries, and financial data

 

/5 Record Group 54, St. Joseph Academy, Yakima, Washington”

Inclusive dates: 1875-1969 

Volume: Ca. 1 cubic foot

Description: French, in part

A. “History”: Chronicles 1875-1969, histories and notes, correspondence

B. “Curriculum”: Alphabet Yakama. Sapsikuatpama Timash Mamachatumki. Title page reads: Alphabet Yakama contenant les prières, les cantiques et la catéchisme dans la même langue. A l’usage des enfants de la tribu des Yakamas, sous le patronage des R.R.P.P. Jésuites par L.N. St. Onge, Pretre, Ex-Missionnaire des Yakamas. [Yakama Alphabet containing the prayers, songs and catechism in the same language. For use of the children of the Yakama tribe, under the patronage of the reverend father Jesuits by Father L.N. St. Onge, former missionary to the Yakamas.] Printed at the Sisters of Providence Motherhouse, Montréal, 1872

C. “Reports”: Personnel and Works report, 1875-1969, annual financial reports with statistics such as number of sisters, students, employees, ministries, and financial data

D. “Student records”

E. “Publications, Topical files, Scrapbooks”

 

/6 ”Record Group 55, “Providence of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School, Cowlitz, Washington”

Inclusive dates: 1876-1898 

Volume: .4 cubic foot

Description: French, in part

A. “History,” 1876-1898, 1978, 4 folders: Chronicles, 1876-1898, and "The Way it Was in Cowlitz Prairie," a chapter from The Way it Was in Providence Schools, Sister Dorothy Lentz, S.P., 1978

B. “Financial,” 1877-1906, 2 folders and 2 volumes: Comprised of deeds, correspondence, and receipts re: property and taxes and 2 financial ledgers, one which includes some names of students

C. “Reports,” 1876-1897, 1 folder: Comprised of personnel and work reports and annual financial reports with statistics such as number of sisters, students, employees, ministries, and financial data

D. “Subject Series,” 1911-1938, 4 folders: Comprised of articles on Cowlitz Prairie history, St. Francis Xavier Mission, St. Mary Academy, including 2 issues of Prairie Lite published by St. Mary Academy

 

/7 ”Record Group 59, Providence of Mary Immaculate School, DeSmet, Idaho”

Inclusive dates: 1870-1974

Volume: Ca. 5.5 cubic feet

Description: French, in part

A. “History”: Chronicles, 1878-1989; request letters from Chief Seltis for the Sisters of Providence, 1870-1876; histories and notes; 75th Jubilee, 1953; Centennial 1978; Statement of Appreciation to the Sisters of Providence by Coeur D’Alene Indian Tribe, 1974; History of Providence Mary Immaculate DeSmet, Idaho, Foundation #59 “You will be with us always…” by Sister Helen Mason, S.P., 1996.

B. “Coeur D’Alene Tribe”: Treaties, 1891, 1934, 1947; A Coeur D’Alene Story by Reverend Thomas E. Connolly, S.J., 1996; Coeur D’Alene Mission of the Sacred Heart by Reverend Edmund R. Cody, M.A., 1930; History.

C. “Student records”: Attendance registers 1909-1974; statement of attendance as stated on U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Report Quarterly, 1887-1937; Quarterly Report of Indian Schools, 1893

D. “Reports”: Personnel and works report with statistics such as number of sisters, students, employees, ministries, and financial data, 18781975; student reports to Indian Bureau 1938-1953; Student Report to Indian Bureau, 1938-1953; National Catholic Welfare Conference, Board of Education, 1924; School Bulletin (statistics) 1912-1923; Short Summary of Activities at Coeur D’Alene Tribal School, 1974-1975

 

/8 “Records of the Health Care Ministries of Sacred Heart Province and St. Ignatius Province”

Inclusive dates: 1858-ongoing

Volume: 1.5 cubic feet

Description: French, in part. The Sisters of Providence sponsored health care facilities in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Alaska since 1858.  Native Americans were treated at these facilities.  Some patient registers exist as well as references in the chronicles and histories for each hospital.  Available records can be checked for specific requests.

 

Sisters of Providence Collection:

/9 “Sisters of Provience Collection”

Inclusive dates: 1856-1989

Volume: Ca. 6 cubic feet

Description:  

A. History: Provincial Administration chronicles, foundation requests, histories and notes, Little Journal of Providence

B. Sisters of Providence Spirituality Collection: “Prayer,” 1883, 1 volume: Prayers used by the Sisters of Charity, published by Tulalip Mission Press, 1883

C. Personal Papers

1. “(13) Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, S.P. (Esther Pariseau), (1823-1902), Mother Vicar, Providence of the Holy Angels, Vancouver, Washington, 1856-1866, Supervisor of Construction, 1866-1891”, 1 cubic foot, 1856-1902: Diary of her voyage to the Northwest, 1856, and correspondence with sisters, bishops, priests and others including Mother Philomene in Montreal, Reverend Eugene C. Chirouse, O.M.I., Reverend John Baptist A. Brouillet, Reverend Urban Grassi, S.J., Bishop A.M.A. Blanchet and Bishop F.N. Blanchet. In French with English translations

2. “(26) Sister Praxedes of Providence, S.P. (Desanges Lamothe), (1820-1889), Mother Vicar, Providence of the Holy Angels, Vancouver, Washington, 1866-1881,” 1876-1881, 2 folders: Correspondence with Reverend Peter Hylebos, re: land for and construction of Providence of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School, Cowlitz Prairie, Washington

3. “(178) Sister Paul Miki, S.P. (Maria Mathilda Roby) (1842-1880),” 1863-1879, 1 folder: Correspondence from Providence of the Holy Family/ St. Ignatius Indian School, St. Ignatius, Montana, to her family and other sisters; in French

4. “(3637) Sister Providencia Tolan, S.P. (Denise H. Tolan) (19091989),” 1955-1961, 1980, 4.5 cubic feet: Indian Affairs Notebooks, 1955-1961; albums of her life and work, with clippings and pictures; topical files including speeches and awards, Blackfeet, Little Shell Chippewa Cree, Salish, Kootenai, Mohawk and Western Iroquois, Kateri Tekawitha, Kateri School at Caughnewaga, Hill 57, notable correspondents include Senator Mike Mansfield. Author of A Shining from the Mountains, a history of the Sisters of Providence ministry with Native Americans and work of the reductions of Native Americans in eastern Washington and western Montana, 1980

 

/10 Inventaires des Immeubles de la Province du Sacre-Coeur and Inventaires des Immeubles de la Province de Ste. Ignatius [Inventory of Buildings of Sacred Heart Province and Inventory of Buildings of St. Ignatius Province]

Inclusive dates: 1919 

Volume: 2 volumes 

Description: Plat maps drawn by Sister Anatolie, S.P. Survey of the buildings and lands for each ministry in the western provinces including ministries to Native Americans: Providence Academy, Vancouver, Washington; St. Joseph Academy, Yakima, Washington; Providence of the Holy Family/ St. Ignatius Indian School, St. Ignatius, Montana; Providence of Our Lady of Seven Dolors School, Tulalip, Washington; Providence of the Sacred Heart School, Fort Colville, Washington; Providence of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School, Cowlitz, Washington; Providence of Mary Immaculate School, DeSmet, Idaho. 

 

/11 “Records of the Education Apostolate of Sacred Heart Province”

Inclusive dates: 1894, 1952-1973 

Volume: Ca. .5 cubic feet 

Description: 

A. “Curriculum,” 1894, 1 volume: Course of Study and Regulations, containing curriculum for all schools administered by the province, including those with American Indian and Eskimo students; adopted 1894

B. “Religious Education and Religious Vacation School,” 1952-1973: Class schedules, student lists, history, and photographs for religious education and summer programs with Eskimo children in Nome, Alaska, 1952-1957; Eielson Air Force Base (near Fairbanks), Alaska, 1952-1954; Kotzebue, Alaska, 1960-1965, 1969; Tanana/ Ruby/ Galena, Alaska, 1963-1969, 19701972; Barrow, Alaska, 1967; Newtok, Alaska, 1973

 

Visual Resources:

/12 ”Visual Resources Collection” 

Inclusive dates: 1870s-1990

Volume: Ca. 3 cubic feet

Description: Photographic prints, negatives, slides, postcards, drawings, and motion picture films with some prints in albums; re: from the schools serving Native Americans administered by the Sisters of Providence.

 

Unless noted otherwise, the repository named above holds (or held) the records described and not the Marquette University Archives.

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