Observations on School for Indians

The poet bears witness.


We walked through the crowded class-rooms.
No map of Canada or the Territories,
No library or workshop,
Everywhere religious scenes,
Christ and Saints, Stations of the Cross,
Beads hanging from nails, crucifixes,
And two kinds of secular art —
Silk-screen prints of the Group of Seven,
And crayon drawings and masks
Made by the younger children,
The single visible expression
Of the soul of these broken people.

Upstairs on the second storey
Seventy little cots
Touching end to end
In a room 30 by 40
Housed the resident boys
In this firetrap mental gaol.
F.R. Scott "Fort Providence" (Section V of Letter from the Mackenzie River 1956) in The Dance Is One (McClellan and Stewart, 1973).

And so for day 1938