Healing the Wound:  Cultural Compromise in D.C. Scott's"A Scene at Lake Manitou"

by Janice C. Simpson

In 1931, Duncan Campbell Scott, then Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, expressed his view concerning the inevitability of Indian assimilation in these words:

It is the opinion of this writer that by policies and activities as have been outlined, the Government will in time reach the end of its responsibilities as the Indians progress into civilization and finally disappear as a separate and distinct people, not by race extinction but by gradual assimilation with their fellow citizens.1

This comment, and others like it, have led critics of Scott's poetry to deplore his apparent lack of concern over the plight of the Indians, or to posit a split between Scott "the government official" and Scott "the poet." Both tendencies can be seen, for example, in John Flood's essay entitled "The Duplicity of D.C. Scott and the James Bay Treaty" where, after an extensive examination (and condemnation) of Scott's attitude towards assimilation as recorded in his official writings, Flood concludes:

On the one hand, in his poetry Scott writes of the dilemma of a destroyed heritage . . . and on the other hand, in his Department writing, he advocates a means of integration or "gradual assimilation" which will ensure the complete destruction of that past.2

In an earlier article entitled "Scott and the Indians," Melvin Dagg asserts that there is no reason to expect a man to express the same opinions in public as he does in private life; it does not surprise Dagg that the official Scott justifies assimilation while the poet is against it.3  Far more useful than these characterizations of Scott as a split personality is Gerald Lynch's argument that it is not so much a question of a public / private split as of a complex and changing attitude. Scott the poet does not express one simple opinion on the issue of Indian assimilation, Lynch argues, but, rather, explores the problem from a variety of angles. As Scott experienced more contact with Indians, Lynch suggests, his attitude became less dogmatic, more tentative, and more complex.4

     One of Scott's most accomplished and intriguing poetic examinations of the Indian response to contact with whites has received very little critical attention. Scott wrote "A Scene at Lake Manitou," a poem in which he focusses on the thoughts and feelings of an Indian woman struggling to deal with this forced "progression" into "civilization," in 1933,5 one year after his retirement from Indian Affairs. That Scott understands the human costs of the government's policy of assimilation is evident in this depiction of the Widow Frederick, who throws off the passivity to which she is condemned by white society and attempts to construct a creative synthesis of two cultures. Although she succeeds briefly in creating such a synthesis, the implication of the poem's ending is that her compromise is ultimately doomed to failure. When "A Scene at Lake Manitou" first appeared in the 1935 Green Cloister volume, the poem shared in the praise accorded its sister poem, "At Gull Lake, August 1810." Leon Slonim, in his "Critical Edition of the Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott," quotes the review of the volume published by The Mail and Empire in December of 1935, in which William Arthur Deacon writes that the two Canadian poems ("At Gull Lake, August 1810" and "A Scene at Lake Manitou") are easily the most outstanding in the volume." Deacon calls the poems "graphic and interpretive studies'' that ''rank with Scott's best previous work in that genre."6 Yet "A Scene at Lake Manitou" has received far less critical attention than "At Gull Lake," and is not included in Slonim's description of "more or less the standard canon of Scott's outstanding poems"7 — a place where, it is the implicit argument of the present essay, it clearly belongs.

     As a sensitive and sympathetic exploration of the Indian's dilemma, "A Scene at Lake Manitou" shows a great development in Scott's attitude towards Indians from such early poems as "Watkwenies" and "The Onondaga Madonna," both of which appeared in the 1898 Labour and the Angel volume. The two Indian women who are the subjects of these two sonnets seem to be specimens placed under glass for ease of examination. They are being judged externally, by alien eyes,8 and there is little suggestion that they partake of a rich and spiritual culture and religion. The poet draws on the stereotype of Indian as "warrior" and "savage" and presents portraits of emblematic Indian women lusting for vengeance or burning with "pagan passion." Lynch points out that by submitting to assimilation, the Indians of these poems "apparently, have everything to gain (treaty annuities, Christian civilization) and little of value to lose (material poverty, pagan savagery)." He also notes, however, that the sonnets "present their subjects as vengeful and potentially violent, implying an awareness on the Indians' part — and no doubt on Scott's part — that something is going wrong."9 In later poems such as "The Half-Breed Girl" (written in 1906) and "At Gull Lake, August 1810" (written in 1934) Scott shows a deeper and more sympathetic understanding of the plight of those caught between the two cultures — belonging to both, but accepted by neither. The native women of both poems are characters at once more sympathetically observed and more fully realized than are the figures in the earlier sonnets. Despite his elegiac lament for the passing of the Indian race in "Indian Place Names," Scott evidently discovers in his dealings with the Indians elements of a culture that is not easily submerged by Christianity. In fact, Scott's use of Indian mythology in a poem such as "Lines in Memory of Edmund Morris" (1915), in which the Indian material is not central, suggests a growing recognition that the Indian religion has some insight to offer to white Christians. Lynch explores Scott's use of native mythology in "Lines in Memory of Edmund Morris" and convincingly argues that Scott "finds within Indian legends illustrations for the philosophical consolation with which he appeases his sense of loss at Morris' death."10  Lynch's reading of "The Forsaken" implies that by the turn of the 'twenties Scott had developed an ability to go beyond narrow distinctions of race and religion, to present in the Indian woman's acceptance of her traditional role a Christian ideal of self-sacrifice."11

     Although Lynch suggests that in these poems Scott infuses his art with a creative syncretism of Christian and Indian mythology, he argues later in the same article that the Widow Frederick in "A Scene at Lake Mamtou" is "a most striking illustration of the pain and frustration resulting from the clash of two cultures, the admixture of two faiths: the Christian-European she does not properly understand, the Indian has been diluted and rendered ineffectual."12 The implication of Lynch's argument is that such syncretism, while creative and useful in the artist, is useless or even destructive when applied to real life. Lynch does not consider the possibility that Scott may recognize in this poem the ability of the Indian culture to incorporate elements of another civilization without being destroyed. E. Palmer Patterson II points out in The Canadian Indian: A History Since 1500 that nineteenth-century observers of the Indian civilization for the most part tried to measure the degree to which the culture was dying on the basis of such externals as dress, housing, church attendance and occupations. Their conclusions were based on the assumption that the Indian culture was static and that any change, therefore, represented a step toward assimilation. Patterson, however, argues that

The depth and intensity of the indigeneous culture was either not understood or grossly underestimated. It could hardly have been understood by those who regarded the Indian as a child who needed only to be raised to adulthood or as a blank sheet of paper, culturally speaking, who was to be written upon with European culture. Indians for their part did not indiscriminately accept the superiority of all the new over the old. They did not see the either/or choice; they both adapted and incorporated.13

By 1933 and "A Scene at Lake Manitou," Scott was apparently ready to portray an Indian with an active and creative response to contact with another culture. He has overcome what Patterson, in a different context, calls the "tendency to interpret all change as evolution toward assimilation rather than as the creation of a new synthesis which continued to be Indian culture."14 The Widow Frederick's synthesis of Indian spiritualism and Christianity is creative; it releases her from the passivity in which she has been trapped and dispels the "mist" which, as will be seen in a few moments, has obscured the horizon in the early part of the poem. Unfortunately, as will also be seen, the rising mist uncovers images of destruction. The wasteland world with which "A Scene at Lake Manitou" concludes is obviously not a breeding ground for a creative cultural synthesis, and the poem thus leaves the reader with the uncomfortable feeling that the woman, like her husband and her son, is doomed to be destroyed.

     In the opening lines of "A Scene at Lake Manitou," Scott paints an almost idyllic picture of Indian girls gathering hay in front of the fur-trader's house at Lake Manitou. The existence of a fur-trader's house, together with the fact that the Indians are engaged in agricultural pursuits, indicates that these are Indians who have come into contact with whites and who are moving along the path to assimilation prescribed by government policy. Leon Slonim suggests that Scott may have in mind as the setting for the poem a Lake Manito [sic] in western Saskatchewan, which is mentioned by Alexander Henry in his journal, New Light. Slonim's argument rests on the probability — based on the link that he establishes between New Light and "At Gull Lake, August 1810"15 — that Scott had Henry's journal in mind around the time that he was writing the two poems. It is equally probable, however, that Scott intended his "Scene" to be set near Lake Manitou on Manitoulin Island — the site of an experiment in solving the "Indian problem" with which Scott in his official capacity would in all likelihood have been familiar. In 1836, Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis Bond Head began to implement his policy of isolating Indians on small parcels of land and encouraging them to give up hunting in favour of agriculture. Accordingly, a treaty was made with the Ottawas and Ojibways of Manitoulin, alienating the island. That same year, the Saugeen Indians agreed to give up their land on the north-eastern shore of Lake Huron and to relocate on Manitoulin. Patterson quotes some of Bond Head's instructions to the Indians:

In all parts of the world farmers seek for uncultivated land as eagerly as you, my red children, hunt in your forest for game. If you would cultivate your land, it would then be considered your own property, in the same way as your dogs are considered among yourselves to belong to those who have reared them, but uncultivated land is like wild animals, and your Great Father who has hitherto protected you, has now great difficulty in securing it for you from the whites who are hunting to cultivate.16

Patterson reveals the government's limited understanding of the situation when he points out that the Ottawas had actually "practised agriculture for several hundred years." The general opinion at the time, however, was that Indians who became farmers were assimilating into white society. Certainly the Indians in "A Scene at Lake Manitou" seem initially to be following this prescribed course.

     Although the idyllic elements of what begins as a pictorial "scene" predominate at the outset of "A Scene at Lake Manitou," ironic undercuttings that are to become important issues for the dramatic action are introduced in the opening lines of the poem. The Indian girls' work is "half play"; they are "racing and chasing, / And laughing loud with the fun" (1. 3, 11. 7-8).17  The internal rhyme of "racing and chasing" stresses the mood of light-hearted fun, as do the one-syllable rhyme words in the couplets ending with "hay" and "play" (11. 2-3), "field" and "yield" (11. 4-5), "cocks" and "rocks" (11. 9-10). The final effect of the rhyme scheme, however, is jarring, for in between the couplets are placed, in no fixed pattern, lines that do not rhyme at all. The poem begins with an unrhymed line followed by two couplets. This faint suggestion of a pattern is immediately destroyed by the interpolation of three unrhymed lines before the next couplet. The jarring effect of these opening lines is continued in the next seven lines, which contain no true rhyme — merely almost-rhymes such as "shone" and "stone" (11. 13-14), and assonances such as "trace" and "haze" (11. 15-17) — and the poem continues in a similar fashion. D.M.R. Bentley has pointed out that the pictorial aspects of these opening lines, and in particular Scott's manipulation of perspective, help to establish the contrast between the two cultures:

the realm of European culture, where the geometric shapes of permanent agricultural settlement (house, "field") and the semi-constructive activities of the girls (". . . building tiny cocks"), are sharply delineated by their placement in full light at the "front" of the "scene;" . . . in contrast [is] the realm of the relatively unformed wilderness (wilder-ness), the habitat of the Indians and their spirits towards which the eye is led when the focus shifts to the distant and indistinct shapes of the lake whose far shore is lost behind the arras of "haze."18

Just as the admixture of rhyme and loose verse gives the effect of a poem struggling to rhyme and occasionally succeeding, so it could be said that the Widow Frederick is struggling to adapt the two cultures; Indian and European, into an harmonic whole, with some success. The jarring elements in the poem could also be said to reflect the failure of the Widow to harmonize completely the jarring elements of her life.

     That the work of the girls is "half play" is not entirely due to their sense of light-hearted fun: the field that they are working is so "small and stony" that its yield is "light" (11. 4-5). Their fun may seem idyllic, but the reality is that agriculture in this rocky environment is not very feasible. After the death of Matanack at the end of the poem, the girls return to their "play / Of gathering the last of the hay" (11. 119-120). The word "play" capitalizes on the dramatic aspect of the "scene" to suggest that the girls' agricultural activity is both a game and an "act" that they are playing at the bidding of the white men (represented perhaps by the trader in front of whose house they play). On the surface, they are adapting to the European way of life, but they are not seriously or fundamentally changing their nature.

     This kind of double perspective, a perspective in which images that initially seem positive are ironically undercut, continues as "A Scene at Lake Manitou" moves to the larger setting of the "scene." The hot sun of the poem's tenth line is an idyllic element in that it provides warmth and makes the lake "shimmer" (1. 11). It is also negative, however, for it makes the lake "tremble" and it causes the haze that veils the horizon and produces mirages (11. 15-17). The heat is a trap for the Widow Frederick, who becomes the major actor in the dramatic aspect of the "scene" when the narrator eventually focusses on her. Initially seen seeking refuge under a cedar screen "Between the heat of the rock and the heat of the sun" (1. 25), the Widow Frederick is trapped between a rock and a hard place, as it were. The sun is linked with a passivity which is both physical (she is watching her son Matanack / In the sunlight die, / As she watched his father die in the sunlight" 11. 27-29) and emotional ("she sat like one that grieves / Unconscious of grief" 11. 37-38). Her passive state affects even her visual and aural perception: the far-off islands "seemed in a mirage to float / Moored in the sultry air" (11. 32-33) and "She had ceased to hear the breath in Matanack's throat / Or the joy of the children gathering the hay. / Death, so near, had taken all sound from the day" (11. 34-35). The intense heat and the imminent death of her son are the immediate causes of the Widow Frederick's lethargy, but also implied in her passive acquiescence is the death of the Indian side of her nature which she has tried to submerge. Dagg has argued that in the mythology of "At Gull Lake, August 1810" the sun is connected with the half-breed girl's white father, and it is possible that similar symbolism is operating here.19  The negative effect of the sun, which induces lethargy and which is connected here with death, could therefore be symbolically connected with the assimilationist stance of the white men, which produces similar effects. The Widow's Indian name means "Stormy Sky" (1. 26); her Indian nature, therefore, is in direct contrast to the hot, sultry weather which is rendering her passive. As her mind wanders "in space" to the past (1. 41), the other side of her nature emerges: she remembers an active struggle to survive in which she is, temporarily at least, triumphant.

     The power of "Stormy Sky" makes the name by which she is now known — the Widow Frederick — almost laughable. Scott does not make it clear whether the woman has married a white man named Frederick, or whether her husband was an Indian known to the whites as Frederick. Certainly many Indians took (and still take) European names for the sake of conforming more easily to white society. If the latter possibility is the case, then Scott's point is that the Indian's attempt to enter white society by denying his Indian heritage leads to his destruction, probably directly through a white man's disease against which he has no immunity. Lynch assumes that the husband is white. In his reading, the fact that the son is killed by the same "foe / That had slain his father" (11. 122-23) cannot be read as a simple indictment of the whites, who brought to the New World diseases which decimated the Indian population. Perhaps, says Lynch, in this poem "the fact of death takes precedence over a limited reading of the poem for its Indian theme."20  In terms of the Indian theme, however, a question remains as to why the Indian woman is the partner left alive. The death of the progeny of the mixed marriage has clear implications for any attempt at cultural synthesis, but it seems odd, given that the white men were in little danger of being assimilated into Indian society, that in the joining of the two cultures the partner belonging to the stronger white race dies. Perhaps the death of the white man is a prefiguration of Scott's fear, implied in the poem's final image, that attempts to combine the two cultures creatively are doomed to failure.

     If the husband was white, then one can only assume, for lack of evidence to the contrary, that he sanctioned the bestowal of the Indian name Matanack on his half-breed child. It would then follow that, after the father's death, the Widow has determined to develop the Indian side of her son's nature. To his "inherited store" (1. 53) she adds her knowledge of hunting, and he eventually becomes a "hunter crafty and bold" (1. 56). The descent to cliché to describe this boy-hunter suggests that his cunning is "useless" (1. 58) not only because he is dying, but also because that kind of life-style is archaic and no longer feasible. The Widow Frederick, however, seems to have no intention of trying to return to Indian life as it had been lived before contact with the white man. The visions which in her state of passivity rise "fitfully" in the Widow's "tired brain" and then fade away indicate clearly that the lifestyle of her past is already a compromise or synthesis between the traditional ways and the realities of life in white society. She and her boy live by hunting, the traditional way of life. Instead of hunting in order to supply themselves with meat and clothing, however, they hunt silver-foxes and mink, obviously for the purpose of trade with the white men (1. 60-69). The Widow creates a similarly syncretic amalgam in the area of religion: her thoughts of the culture-hero Nanabojou and the Manitou or spirit that lives in the lake mingle easily and naturally with thoughts of Jesus "Who raised a man from the dead, / So Father Pacifique said" (11. 70-75).

     The name given to the Christian missionary, "Pacifique", is significant, for it connects him with the lethargy and passivity which imprisons the woman and makes her submerge "Stormy Sky" within the Widow Frederick. The early Scott makes "pagan passion a characteristic of the Indian, both in the two sonnets mentioned earlier and in the 1906 article entitled "The Last of the Indian Treaties." Speaking of the "early days" when the Indians were a "real menace to the colonization of Canada," he says:

The Indian nature now seems like a fire that is waning, that is smouldering and dying away in ashes; then it was full of force and heat. It was ready to break out at any moment in savage dances, in wild and desperate orgies in which ancient superstitions were involved with European ideas but dimly understood and intensified by cunning imaginations with rum.21

In 1906, Scott clearly thought that these passions had to be eradicated from Indian nature if Indians were to advance towards civilization: the effect of "ancient superstitions" added to "European ideas but dimly understood" is depicted as negative and even dangerous in this passage. In "A Scene at Lake Manitou" the passionate frenzy of the woman is connected with her Indian nature. Her passive state is partly induced by the recognition that Christianity can do nothing more to save her son. She has prayed to Jesus and Mary, has used up all the Holy Water, and has made her son wear two Scapulars — a sacramental band of cloth worn over the shoulders — for months. Suddenly, something breaks in her heart and all her energy turns to her burning desire "To save him, to keep him forever!" (11. 77, 80). She rejects the relatively passive Christian remedies in favour of a more active response. "Stormy Sky" once more, she calls upon the Indian spirits of Earth, Air and Water, and, "Screaming demented screams," she throws her treasured possessions into the lake in the hope that the Manitou of the lake will accept them in place of her son (11. 88-100). The treasures that she chooses to throw into the lake are European objects — a gramophone and a sewing machine. The implication is that she has betrayed her Indian background by treasuring these things and is now offering them as a sacrifice.

     When the woman is finally subdued in "A Scene at Lake Manitou," it is not a question of white "civilization" overcoming "pagan passion" as it might have been had Scott written this poem earlier in his career. Her frenzy is stilled by something within her; she is "not conquered" by the men who hold her down, "But subdued by her will" (11. 108-09). This "will" is something that belongs to her as an individual and is not inherent in either of the two cultures with which she is faced. In fact, immediately after this description of a very real grief conquered by the strength of the will, Scott presents rather negative pictures of both cultural choices: the white trader shows a distinct lack of sensitivity in the choice of the phrase "He's done for" (1. 112) to announce the boy's death; the Indians "slouched away to their loafing" (1. 117). Scott suggests the stereotypical image of the lazy Indian with this phrase, but he may also be returning to an image of the passivity characteristic of an Indian in a white man's world. The reference to the girls' resumption of the "play / Of gathering the last of the hay" (11. 119-120) is a reminder that these Indians are being discouraged from following their traditional lifestyle. Both sides leave the woman alone — the trader presumably because he has more important things to attend to at the post, and the Indians perhaps because they retain their traditional belief that the ghost of a dead person lingers on earth for some time and tries to take others with him on his journey to the land of the dead.22

     Once alone, the Widow Frederick reasserts her dignity in the face of her grief. Recognizing that her frenzied screaming is "all in vain," she tidies her hair and her dress and accepts the reality of what has happened. Her reference at this point to the "foe" that has slain both her husband and her son (11. 122-23) is more likely to mean death itself (or a particular disease) than white society in general, since she continues to incorporate the white man's religion into her view of life and death. Her rejection of Christianity was as temporary as her abandonment to passion, and she reasserts her synthesis of both religions in the syncretic view of the afterlife presented in the statement: "He had gone to his father / To hunt in the Spirit Land / And to be with Jesus and Mary" (11. 128-29).

     At this point she once again becomes active, but this time in a more positive way. She decides to return to a life of hunting and trading, dividing her time between the woods and the Post, as she had done "as long as she could remember" (1. 139). She does not reject the white man, as she continues to follow the custom of having the trader mark as money owing to him the winter supplies that she bought on credit (1. 123). The Widow Frederick is, in fact, returning to a life-style that is a constructive compromise between that of the traditional Indian and that of the white man. That this is the correct decision for her to make is indicated by the immediate return of her strength and her spirit: she is "Resolute as of old" (1. 141) and begins actively to perceive the world around her. Earlier, Death "had taken all sound from the day" (1. 36); now she hears someone begin to hammer down at the Trader's house. The air becomes suddenly "cold / With a presage of frost" (11. 144-45). The lethargy caused by the heat is cast off, the haze is dispersed, and the islands which previously seemed to be floating in a mirage are now seen clearly for the first time (11. 146-48). As the vista previously enveloped in haze unfolds, however, one is forced to remember the negative incidents of the poem, and these serve to undercut the positive picture of a woman resolute of strength and of spirit. The Widow Frederick has effected a compromise between the Indian and white life-styles and has reconciled Christianity with Indian spiritualism in her own mind, but she is alone — neither the Indians nor the whites in this poem have the sensitivity to participate in a true cultural synthesis or in religious syncretism. She may return to a compromise life-style, but the death of her son suggests the impossibility of trying to pass that way of life on to a future generation. The rising haze reveals images of destruction: the trees on the island are

                  . . .blackened spires
Charred by the fury of fires
That had passed that way,
That were smouldering and dying out in the West
At the end of day.
                         (11. 150-54)

These islands may actually have been destroyed by fire, or the image may be an illusion produced by the "sunset flare" against which the islands appear "dark on the burnished water" (11. 148-49). In either case, the effect is ominous, and seems to contain a warning to both Indians and whites. The charred trees suggest the destruction of the Indian life-style and religion, both of which are closely connected to the natural world. Moreover, they are likened to "blackened spires" — a metaphor which suggests that neither Indian spiritualism nor Christianity will survive "the fury of the fires." The Widow Frederick may have been able to synthesize the two religions to her own satisfaction, but such a synthesis cannot survive in the world.

     The implications of the ending of "A Scene at Lake Manitou" are more fully and horribly worked out in its sister poem, "At Gull Lake, August 1810," in which Keejigo, the half-breed girl, is rejected both by Nairne, the white trader, and by Tabashaw, the Indian chief. Keejigo is able to achieve peace only by her death, which enables her to heal the bodily "wound" by transcending racial differences. Scott is concerned with much more than the problem of Indian assimilation in "At Gull Lake," but the basic narrative affirms the direction in which his thoughts seem to be moving in "A Scene at Lake Manitou." In the latter poem he gives an Indian credit for a more complicated response to contact with the white culture than a simple desire for the violent vengeance of "Watkwenies." He recognizes that the issues are not quite so clear-cut as they might at first seem, and indicates that both white and Indian culture stand to lose something in the clash between the two. The converse is, of course, equally true: they both stand to gain something if they can approach one another with sympathy and an open mind. S.L. Dragland makes an interesting observation in his introduction to Dagg's chapter in Duncan Campbell Scott: A Book of Criticism:

Ironically, it was roots rather like those Canadian poets needed to put down that were being pulled up as Indians were separated from their traditional lifestyle. Had Scott understood how rich a culture the Indians had possessed, how mythologically melded with the land they had been, he might have found a basis on which to build his own work; he might have felt that someone had already trod where he was walking.23

     In some of the poems published between 1906 and 1935, poems such as "Lines in Memory of Edmund Morris" and "Powassan 's Drum," Scott uses Indian mythology and legend to deal with larger concerns than the "Indian question."24 His ability in "A Scene at Lake Manitou" to depict the struggles of an Indian woman who is more than a figure of anthropological interest and to posit the possibility of a creative reconciliation of the two cultures, however transitory, indicates that in the 'thirties Scott was moving towards a deeper understanding of the Indians' rich cultural heritage.


  1. Duncan Campbell Scott, The Administration of Indian Affairs in Canada (Toronto, 1931), p. 27.[back]

  2. John Flood, "The Duplicity of D.C. Scott and the James Bay Treaty," Black Moss, 2nd ser., 2 (Fall, 1976), P. 56.[back]

  3. Melvin Dagg, "Scott and the Indians" in Duncan Campbell Scott: A Book of Criticism, ed. S.L. Dragland (Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1974), p. 181.[back]

  4. Gerald Lynch, "An Endless Flow: D.C. Scott's Indian Poems," Studies in Canadian Literature, Vol. 7, No. 1 (1982), pp. 27-54. This article is the most thorough examination of Scott's Indian poems that has appeared to date. Lynch gives detailed readings of many of the poems, including "A Scene at Lake Manitou."[back]

  5. Dates of poems used in this article are those assigned by Robert L. McDougall in D C Scott: The Dating of the Poems," Canadian Poetry, No. 2 (Spring/Summer, 1978), 13-27.[back]

  6. William Arthur Deacon, The Mail and Empire, December 14, 1935, p. 8, quoted by Leon Slonim in his "Critical Edition of the Poems of Duncan Campbell Scott" Diss. University of Toronto 1978, p. xlvii.[back]

  7. Slonim, p. liii.[back]

  8. D.M.R. Bentley makes this point in "The Onondaga Madonna: A Sonnet of Rare Beauty," CV II, 3 (1977), 28-29.[back]

  9. Lynch, p. 42.[back]

  10. Lynch, p. 34.[back]

  11. Lynch, pp. 43-44.[back]

  12. Lynch, p. 51.[back]

  13. E. Palmer Patterson II, The Canadian Indian: A History Since 1500 (Toronto: Collier-Macmillan, 1972), p. 109.[back]

  14. Patterson, p. 40.[back]

  15. Slonim finds a source for the story of"At Gull Lake, August 1810," written one year later than "A Scene at Lake Manitou" in New Light (see his article "D.C. Scott's 'At Gull Lake'" in Canadian Literature, No. 81, Summer 1979, 142-43). Henry's journal contains no narrative resembling that of "A Scene at Lake Manitou." Slonim suggests as a further link between the latter poem and New Light a reference in the journal to the Indian hero "the Great Nainouboushow," who appears in line 70 of Scott's poem. It is likely, however, that Scott's knowledge of Nanabojou came directly from the Indians with whom he was in contact and not secondhand through Henry's account. Scott demonstrated his familiarity with Indian mythology in the earlier "Lines in Memory of Edmund Morris" and Nanabojou certainly plays a major role in Indian legend. It is significant in this regard that Scott chooses a spelling of the name (which has numerous variants in English) that differs from Henry's.[back]

  16. Patterson, p. 87.[back]

  17. Quotations from Scott's poetry throughout are from Glenn Clever, ed., Selected Poetry of Duncan Campbell Scott (Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1974). Line numbers have been added. to "A Scene at Lake Manitou" for ease of reference.[back]

  18. D.M.R. Bentley, "Drawers of Water; the Significance and Scenery of Fresh Water in Canadian Poetry" (Parts 2 and 3), CV II, Vol. 7, No. 1 (November 1982), 40. [back]

  19. Dagg, p. 187-88.[back]

  20. Lynch, p. 52.[back]

  21. D.C. Scott, "The Last of the Indian Treaties" in The Circle of Affection (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1947), p. 110.[back]

  22. Ruth M. Underhill discusses this traditional belief in Red Man's Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), p. 63.[back]

  23. Dragland, ed., Duncan Campbell Scott, p. 179.[back]

  24. Interesting explorations of these subjects are Lynch's reading of "Lines in Memory of Edmund Morris," pp. 34-35 and Fred Cogswell's "No Heavenly Harmony: A Reading of 'Powassan's Drum," Studies in Canadian Literature, 1 (Summer, 1976), pp. 233-37.[back]