I endorse the remarks of the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen). I have lived for a great many years in very close proximity to a band of Indians, and I appreciate their child-like qualities. In many respects they are very easily imposed upon. I hope, Mr. Chairman, you will not think it egotistical on my part if I say that one of the things that gives me the greatest pride is that the Indians believe what I say, and I am just as pleased with that endorsement as I could be with a certificate of character from white people anywhere. I am sorry to say that the Indians where I live, that is the Oak Lake Indians, are almost always in a chronic state of pauperism. I do not think they are treaty Indians. They are not in receipt of any fixed income of any kind from the Dominion Government but are largely dependent on their own efforts for a livelihood. I cannot but think, Mr. Chairman, that the Indian question is one of the tragedies of our modern civilization, or perhaps it would be better to say of the progress of development in a new country, and I would like to impress upon the minister at this particular time the desirability of a most careful examination into all the conditions on our Indian reserves. I know individually the Indians in my own locality, I am thoroughly familiar with their circumstances, and my heart has bled for them many a time. We sometimes blame the Indian for the condition in which he finds himself. We say that he is not as persistent as he might be, and that he does not adapt himself to our modern way of living; but where in all history, have you ever found it possible for a people who have been living in a state of semi-barbarism to adapt themselves to civilization and all its methods of living just in one generation? We must treat these people with sympathy and consideration and give them
all the support and help that we possibly can. Unfortunately it is but too true that white people, to a very large extent, are blameable for a great many of the vices to which the Indians are addicted at the present time. When I knew the Indians on the Oak Lake or Pipestone reserve forty years ago they were a truthful people, you would trust them everywhere. To-day I am sorry to say, you cannot repose the same confidence in them, and I attribute that to their coming into contact with the white population dwelling all around them. That is a serious charge to make, but it is true. I hope the minister will give this class of our population his most serious attention and consideration.
Subtopic: STATEMENT OF PREMIER NORRIS