DUNCAN CAMPBELL SCOTT: THE POET AND THE INDIANS (1995)
Duncan Campbell Scott was a poet. He is also the Godfather of Canadian Indian policy. An artist and a bureaucrat, Scott is one of the most intriguing, yet least understood, Canadians of the twentieth century. Known almost exclusively for his literary pursuits, Scott's legacy at the department of Indian Affairs is still the center of a raging national debate about aboriginal rights over half a century after his death. Duncan Campbell Scott: The Poet and The Indians explores the ideology of assimilation through the experience of one of its most important proponents.
Since 1960 when status Indians were accorded the right to vote, Canada has grudgingly and fitfully begun to acknowledge the human rights of aboriginal peoples. There are few, if any, more remarkable reversals of social policy in our history. In the twenty-first century, Canadians are coming to terms with the dreadful legacy of Indian residential schools of which Scott was a principal proponent. Duncan Campbell Scott: The Poet and The Indians also engages the way in which life and art intersect. Scott is perhaps the most severe example of a Canadian type: the clerk/artist. In his case the questions raised become thornier. Some would argue that his literary treatment of the Indians is the most flagrant case of 'appropriation' in our cultural history.
"The gist of the Indian problem is simple... Because Scott implemented government policy, apparently without questioning it, he has suffered the Nuremberg taint of guilt through compliance with unjust orders. Particular charges range from duplicity to genocide. And the reputation of the poetry, wrongly, I think, is sometimes brought down with the reputation of the man."
- Totems: Essays in the Cultural History of Canada by Robert L Mcdougall
Director, Producer, Writer - James Cullingham
Cinematographer - René Sioui Labelle
Editor - Deborah Palloway
Music - David Burt
Producer for NFB - Michael Allder
Duncan Campbell Scott portrayed by R.H. Thomson
A co-production of Tamarack Productions and Ontario Studio of NFB Canada
Produced in association with TVOntario