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Choutla School:
the Carcross, Yukon Residential School

Indian Residential Schools in the Yukon Territory

In 1903, the Anglican Church first opened a school in Carcross for Indian children.

In 1911, a new school building was constructed to house 40 students.

The Weekly Star (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory), September 22, 1911

Indian School Building at Carcross Nearing Completion, 1911

    The editor of the Star visited at Carcross the latter part of last week and while there went to see the new Indian school building which he was shown through and over by Contractor Eli Hume and Building Inspector Ole Dixon.

    Heretofore the editor of the Star, who is quite familiar with every public building in the Yukon Territory, had reckoned the Territorial Court House and Carnegie Library buildings at Dawson the most substantial structures ever erected in Yukon, the Administration building coming next on the list. But for solidity of structure from foundation to turret, the Indian school building at Carcross is far ahead of any of them, and is pre-eminently the finest and most substantial public edifice in the territory. Mr. Hume has not only followed plans and specifications to the letter, but he has seen that every part and detail will withstand the ravages of time and wear.

    The exterior of the building is already completed and the interior is all that remains to be finished. Lathers, plasterers, painters, and, in fact, the entire force is now working indoors and making excellent headway. The heating plant installed by Matthew Watson of this place is almost completed and, barring further delay in receiving finishing material from the outside - considerable delay for that class of material having already been experienced - the building will soon be completed and ready for occupancy by the seventy native sons and daughters, for which number the capacity of the building is rated.

    The building stands on a most ideal location, one capable of great improvement in the way of landscape work and scenic arrangement, and the future of the best building in the Yukon Territory will be watched with interest after it is turned over to and occupied by the Indian children and those having them in charge.

Below, the new school.

The photo below is from a stereocard published in about 1912.
It shows Indian boys from the school swimming in Nares Lake.

On April 17, 1939, the school burned. Classes were held in various temporary accommodations until 1954. The regular Carcross school had burned in July 1936.

In 1954, the building below was constructed, to hold up to 160 students.

    The Choutla school was closed in June 1969.

    In the July 1972, the Anglican Diocese of Yukon leased the school from the Yukon government. They operated the Carcross Community Education Centre from then until June 30, 1979. The photo above, by Gregory Bryce, shows 18-year-old student Tish Hopkins turning under the remains of a vegetable patch, probably in September 1974.

    The main school building was demolished in the mid-1980s.

    In April 2001, lawsuits were filed against the Anglican Church and others for abuses against students in the 1950s and 1960s.

    The last remnants of the school, a garage and warehouse, were demolished in July 2017. Sandrine Murray wrote a lengthy photojournal, interviewing survivor Johnny Johns - see "Reclamation".

All about Carcross, Yukon