St. Ignatius Mission
Backstory and Context
Father DeSmet and Father Hoecken established the mission in 1854, ten years after they founded it in what is now the town of Cusick, Washington along the Pend d'Oreille River. Ultimately this site was unsuitable; it was somewhat isolated, there was little productive farmland, few animals to hunt, and the weather was poor. As a result, DeSmet and Hoecken decided to leave. Chief Alexander of Kalispell tribe requested they relocate the mission here to serve the Pend d'Orielle and Kalispell Indians. Over a thousand Indians moved permanently to the mission by the next year and three other Jesuits joined DeSmet and Hoecken. By 1864, the mission had a chapel, blacksmith and carpenter shops, a flour mill, and a boarding school run by four nuns of the Sisters of Providence—they were the first sisters in Montana. Ursuline Sisters taught at the mission as well.
At its peak between 1890 and 1896, as many as 300 Indian children were taught here, which included learning trades. After the federal government stopped funding mission schools in 1896, the number of children taught at St. Ignatius declined. There were only 47 boys at the mission in 1901. The education of Indian children continued, however. The Ursuline Sisters operated a boarding school until the early 1970s. The mission has been open to visitors since 1973.
Guyaz, Norman. "St. Ignatius Mission." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. June 19, 1973. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/73001053_text.
"The Mission Today." St. Ignatius Mission. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://stignatiusmission.org/the-mission-tours.
Thompson, Steve. "St. Ignatius Mission Church | St. Ignatius, Montana." Crown of the Continent. Accessed June 2, 2020. https://crownofthecontinent.net/entries/st-ignatius-mission-church-st-ignatius-montana/176529fe-850f-4a69-8038-5fd00263866f.
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Ignatius_Mission_(St_Ignatius_Montana)_2002-05.jpg