Queen's University

To colonize a people: the File Hills Indian farm colony

The File Hills Indian Farm Colony operated on the Peepeekisis Indian Reserve in souther Saskatchewan between 1900 and 1932. The Colony brought together select graduates from Indian Industrial and Residential Schools for the purpose of farming, community development and, ultimately, assimilation. Although celebrated nationally and politically as a success, the Colony was also an admitted experiment with human lives and social engineering--meant to solve the "Indian Problems".

This video profiles William Graham, the Indian Agent of File Hills, and how he used his experimental farm colony as a social experiment to assimilate the Cree. The demoralizing impact this experiment is also discussed. The video provides a good study of how Aboriginal people were dealt with by the Canadian goernment in the late 1800s.