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In 2021, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, a comprehensive effort to recognize the troubled legacy of federal Indian boarding school policies.

In response to the DOI initiative, the Jesuits engaged researchers to begin the process of examining the Jesuit Archives & Research Center, where most U.S. Jesuit archival records were centralized within the past decade. You can find JARC online at

The archives, as the name suggests, classifies and preserves records related to most Jesuits of the U.S. and their apostolic ministries. With a clear focus on the boarding schools, researchers found mostly federal government forms (attendance reports and letters between Bureau of Indian Affairs officials and Jesuit leaders). The forms are duplicates of ones that can often be found in the National Archives and Records Administration at

The records held at JARC, unfortunately, contain only brief snippets of information. Procedures for keeping records and other material were uneven in the 1800s and early 1900s. In addition, fires and floods often compromised the safety of documents. While some Jesuit missions had fairly robust archival holdings, others had little to reveal. You may access JARC’s Record Group Finding Guides at

In the 1980s, the former Oregon Province Jesuits (the precursor of the Jesuits West Province) underwent a process to have some of the oldest mission records photographed and made into microfilm. “The Microfilm Editions of the Oregon Province Archives” can be found in many academic libraries across the western U.S., including Alaska. In more recent years, the microfilm has been digitized and can be accessed through a database held by Gale, a for-profit company that specializes in archival and educational resources. If you wish to view these digital resources, email JARC ( to request temporary access to the online database.

If you need help with any archival request, visit JARC’s website and click on Contact to submit your request.