Twenty-nine

29 Faces before me, all of them brown as the earth.

29 Facefuls of mischief, each with a good dose of mirth.

29 pairs of eyes shining, happy when ART books are out!

29 math-hating pupils, aching to laugh, yell and shout,

29 Indian children, mostly unwillingly here.

29 seatfuls of movement, knowing no honour or fear.

29, waiting and watching, ready for teacher's turned back.

29 pranksters preparing, poised for a chance to attack.

15 heads, stripping gears madly, each with a short-cropped black   crown,

14 are feminine faces: two braids for each one hanging down.

15 are full of the devil, showing boldly and bare.

14, as full to the pigtails, hide their intentions with care.

29 nearing adulthood, growing up fearfully fast

No longer completely young children -

but I love them from the first to the last.

David K. Gilchrist

Makes me think that ...

Note from author:

After university, I got a job in the Calgary railroad yards. I got a strange phone call asking if I would teach at an Indian (now "Aboriginal") Residential School. Who gave them my name, I never found out; but I would never have been allowed to teach in any "White" school! (Such was the unfairness of the day). But they were desperate, having no one for the grades 5- 8 class. (The grades 3-4 class teacher had just finished high school herself).

Narrator:

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In the North the Negro had better educational facilities. 1940–41. MoMA