3 Student Death Part 1: Frederick Oshkapukeda

A number of students died at Shingwauk, one of them being Frederick Oshkapukeda. He was born Ningwinnena “My Son”, and lived in Chief’s Bay on Lake Nipigon, south of what is now known as Gull Bay. Ningwinnena was the son of Oshkapukeda, who was a younger son of Chief Muhnedooshans. Muhnedooshans was one of the Anishinaabe chiefs who travelled to Sault Ste Marie in 1850 to sign the Robinson-Superior Treaty (a transcribed copy of the treaty can be found here where Muhnedooshans is spelled Manitshainse). After leaving Lake Nipigon for Shingwauk, Ningwinnena was baptized in October of 1878 and was given the name Frederick, after his supporter Bishop Frederick Fauquier. Unfortunately, Frederick spent most of his time at Shingwauk in the sick room, having contracted tuberculosis from his mother who had died of the disease some years before. He died on May 17, 1879, with Principal Rev. E.F. Wilson and some other students attending him.

Rev. E. F. Wilson’s sketch of when he first met Frederick at Chief’s Bay on Lake Nipigon

When Frederick died, he was the only child from the Lake Nipigon area in an Anglican Residential School. At the time, Rev E.F. Wilson was trying to set up an Anglican Mission in the area, so details of his first meeting with Frederick, Frederick’s time at the school, his illness, and his death, were published in The Church Guardian magazine in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This report and the great amount of detail in it is a notable exception to the rule of unreported student deaths. Oshkapukeda was allowed contact with his son, was given the option to visit Frederick while he was sick, and was promptly informed of his death, a chance the majority of other parents and guardians were not given.

Frederick is buried in the Shingwauk cemetery next to Bishop Fauquier. Although his grave was originally marked with a slate, this marker has been lost and the exact location of his grave is unknown – there is enough space on either side of Bishop Fauquier’s grave to accommodate a burial.

 

Bishop Fauquier’s grave and the area on the left side where Frederick may be buried

A digitized version of the full report, which Wilson copied into Letter Book 2013-012/001, can be read here.

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Shingwauk Narratives: Sharing Residential School History by Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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