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Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill.
In 1920, under Scott's direction, and with the concurrence of the major religions involved in native education, an amendment to the Indian Act made it mandatory for all native children between the ages of seven and fifteen to attend school.
After he retired the next year, "he and Elise spent much of the 1930s and 1940s travelling in Europe, Canada and the United States." Prior to taking up his position as head of the Department of Indian Affairs, in 1905 Scott was one of the Treaty Commissioners sent to negotiate Treaty No. Aside from his poetry, Scott made his mark in Canadian history as the head of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932.
Even before Confederation, the Canadian government had adopted a policy of assimilation under the Gradual Civilization Act 1857.
It would be followed by seven more volumes of verse: Labor and the Angel (1898), New World Lyrics and Ballads (1905), Via Borealis (1906), Lundy's Lane and Other Poems (1916), Beauty and Life (1921), The Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott (1926) and The Green Cloister (1935).
In 1894, Scott married Belle Botsford who was a Succ, a concert violinist, whom he had met at a recital in Ottawa. Before she was born, Scott asked his mother and sisters to leave his home (his father had died in 1891), causing a long-time rift in the family.
Assimilation, so the reasoning went, would solve the 'Indian problem,' and wrenching children away from their parents to 'civilize' them in residential schools until they were eighteen was believed to be a sure way of achieving the government’s goal. would later pat himself on the back: 'I was never unsympathetic to aboriginal ideals, but there was the law which I did not originate and which I never tried to amend in the direction of severity.' I want to get rid of the Indian problem.
I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone…
Scott "was a prime mover in the establishment of the Ottawa Little Theatre and the Dominion Drama Festival." In 1923 the Little Theatre performed his one-act play, Pierre; it was later published in Canadian Plays from Hart House Theatre (1926). In 1931 he married poet Elise Aylen, more than 30 years his junior.It was Scott who initiated wilderness camping trips, a recreation that became Lampman's favourite escape from daily drudgery and family problems. His intention was to conjure up a vision of The Mermaid Inn Tavern in old London where Sir Walter Raleigh founded the famous club whose members included Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and other literary lights.In turn, Lampman's dedication to the art of poetry would inspire Scott's first experiments in verse. In 1893 Scott published his first book of poetry, The Magic House and Other Poems."It is observed with alarm that the holding of dances by the Indians on their reserves is on the increase, and that these practices tend to disorganize the efforts which the Department is putting forth to make them self-supporting," Scott wrote."I have, therefore, to direct you to use your utmost endeavours to dissuade the Indians from excessive indulgence in the practice of dancing.
Moreover, while many aboriginal parents distrusted the residential schools or preferred to raise and educate their children in a traditional manner, other parents willingly enrolled their children, partly from a belief that the schooling of the "white man" would benefit them, and partly from a knowledge that schools would provide shelter, food and clothing which dire conditions on the reserve could not provide.