Scott, Duncan Campbell

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Scott, Duncan Campbell

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1862-1947

History

Duncan Campbell Scott (1862-1947) was a Canadian civil servant, poet and short story writer. Scott was a member of a group known as the "Confederation poets" which also included Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, and Archibald Lampman. This term was first applied to them by scholar and editor Malcolm Ross when he collected their work in the anthology Poets of the Confederation (McClelland & Stewart, 1960). The Confederation poets were the first Canadian writers to become widely known after Confederation in 1867. Scott’s legacy as one of Canada’s preeminent poets has been overshadowed by the prominent role he played in supporting the forced assimilation of Indigenous children through the residential school system.

In 1880 Scott joined the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs as a third-class clerk. In 1893 he was promoted to Chief Accountant. He was made superintendent of Indian Education in 1909 and was deputy superintendent-general from 1913 to 1932. As deputy superintendent, Scott oversaw and expanded the Indian Residential School system for Indigenous children stating his goal was to “get rid of the Indian problem.” In its 2015 report, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) stated that that residential schools were “part of a coherent policy to eliminate Aboriginal people as distinct peoples and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will.” The establishment and operation of residential schools has been labelled by the TRC as cultural genocide.

Additional information on the legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott can be accessed here: https://fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/duncan_campbell_scott_information_sheet_final.pdf.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto; Trinity College Archives

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2016

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