© Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Last updated Oct. 26, 2006)
Retrieval numbers: Volume 964-966
Title: Matheson Island Nursing Station fonds
Extent: 21 cm of textual records
Repository: Mennonite Heritage Centre Archives
Mennonite Pioneer Mission (MPM) was established by the Bergthaler Mennonite church of Manitoba in 1944 under the leadership of Bishop David Schultz and J.N. Hoeppner. John N. Braun was appointed as treasurer and purchaser. Originally MPM was established to do mission work in Mexico, but after a few years the doors to this project closed. They then turned their attention to working with the native peoples in northern Manitoba.
Adequate access to health care was a continuous challenge for remote communities of northern Manitoba. From 1954 to 1956 Helen Willms of Coaldate, Alberta served as a public health nurse at Matheson Island under the auspices of Mennonite Pioneer Mission. She lived in the mission house with Jake and Trudie Unrau, but had a separate entrance for her dispensary, which was located in a downstairs room next to her bedroom. This became known as the Matheson Island Nursing Station. Regular visits to other communities in the area were part of the duties of the public health nurse. Mary Janzen of Springridge, Alberta replaced Miss Willms in 1956. When Miss Janzen left in 1957, the official public health nurse program at Matheson Island ended.
Jessie Kehler, wife of the resident minister Larry Kehler, was also a nurse, but carried no official credentials with her for working on the Island. Nevertheless, she also performed nursing duties.
The records in this collection contain correspondence with various governmental agencies regarding health concerns. Other files contain information regarding specific ailments such as tuberculosis, polio, nutrition, dental health, and immunization. There are also some personal medical records of the people who were treated at the station and a log of patients seen by the clinic.
Inventory file list available
Conference of Mennonites in Canada fond -- Native Ministries -- Mennonite Pioneer Mission; Jake Unrau fonds.
This collection probably came to the MHC Archives from Mennonite Pioneer Mission workers who served at Matheson Island.
Described by Conrad Stoesz September 13, 1999. Reviewed and updated by Alf Redekopp, Oct. 2006.
Some restrictions apply