Racism writ large: a 1921 letter from Duncan Campbell Scott

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      Canada's assimilationist in chief, Duncan Campbell Scott, was deputy superintendent of the department of Indian affairs from 1913 to 1932.

      He was also a writer, poet, pianist, and one of the most notorious racists in Canadian history.

      He oversaw an amendment to the Indian Act requiring all indigenous children between the ages of seven and 15 to attend residential schools.

      Prior to that, most First Nations kids attended day schools, which meant they could continue living with their families and enjoying the benefits of their culture.

      In part due to Scott's efforts, some 150,000 aboriginal, Métis, and Inuit kids were removed from their homes to church-run institutions, where many were brutalized and sexually abused.

      Below, you can read a letter by Scott, which was written in 1921. It was recently distributed over Twitter by @LawladyINM.

      "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. You should suppress any dances which cause waste of time, interfere with the occupations of the Indians, unsettle them for serious work, injure their health or encourage them in sloth and idleness."

      A 1921 letter from Duncan Campbell Scott.

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