Repository logo

Seekaskootch, day labour, school construction project



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



The problem in this study was to determine the effects of a day labour school construction project on the Seekaskootch Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan. A review of the literature generated 110 questions rela­ted to the effects of a day labour project on a reserve. Seventy-six of these questions served as the basis for depth, key informant, and open­end interviews with Indians and non-Indians associated with the project. Thirty-four of the questions formed a guided interview instrument. All thirty-four questions were directed to a sample of thirty-three band mem­bers who had worked on the project. Eight of these questions were direc­ted to a sample of twenty seven band members who had not worked on the project. As well as guided interviews, the researcher followed participant ­observation procedures to gather data and interpret events. Follow-up interviews and participant observations were conducted two and one-half years after the initial procedures were applied. The study, therefore, reflects the situation and band members' reactions as they existed towards the end of a three and one-half year construction project, and two and one-half years later. Most of the data reflects the situation in 1975. The thesis is a case study because it provides an in-depth inves­tigation of the Seekaskootch community. Charts in appendices A, B and C describe the development of the statement of the problem from the litera­ture, the descriptive method of research, and the background to an on­reserve, day labour, school, construction project. The study found that the untrained and inexperienced labour force was capable of successfully completing the school project. The Onion Lake school was built with no apparent reduction in the quality of work­manship or materials. The project improved some community functions including health services, recreation and transportation. Alcohol rela­ted problems or violence in the community did not increase. The study reports changes in the band labour force, job opportu­nities, training, local government, school facilities, education and con­sumer spending. The findings indicate that the project had no effect on social assistance payments, reserve land use, and traditional activities. The band members were more in favour of day labour after the pro­ject than before. They favoured reserve development and Indian language and culture courses in the school program. The band is assuming full con­trol of reserve education. Band members indicated that this work experi­ence will help their future employment prospects on and off the reserve, however, they indicated a preference for working on reserve. While more expensive than most contract schools, this project was the least expensive day labour built school in Canada between 1966 and 1974. Total costs compared favourably with the average cost for schools built by contract. The study concludes that the major components of a successful day labour project include the co-operation of the band leaders, a labour force of sufficient size, the co-operation of the supervising government department, and a good project supervisor. The most important effect of this day labour project was that it was community based in its approach to development. This project was locally conceived, planned and constructed. Having successfully accomplished this major task, the band is in a position to confidently plan and proceed with its own development. v





Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Indian and Northern Education


Indian and Northern Education



Part Of