A Narrow Vision: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Administration of Indian Affairs in Canada


A well-known member of the circle of Confederation poets, Duncan Campbell Scott is generally considered a kind-hearted and sympathetic portrayer of the nobility of the Canadian Indian. But his real belief about the conditions and future of Canada's Native people is revealed in his official writings during his long tenure as Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs. In A Narrow Vision, Brian Titley chronicles Scott's career in the Department of Indian Affairs and evaluates developments in Native health, education, and welfare between 1880 and 1932. He shows how Scott's response to challenges such as the making of treaties in northern Ontario, land claims in British Columbia, and the status of the Six Nations caused persistent difficulties and made Scott's term of office a turbulent one. Scott could never accept that Natives had legitimate grievances and held adamantly to the view that his department knew best. Not designed as a biography of Scott, nor intended to cast a shadow on his motives, this book assesses Euro-Canadian thinking on aboriginal rights at the turn of the century. Because Scott was chief adviser to his changing political masters as well as framer of official government documents, he held a pre-eminent position as arbiter of Native needs and claims. The only study of Native policy in the early twentieth century and the only work to focus on D. C. Scott's career in government, this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the development of Canadian Native policy in this century.


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