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generally had food enough, if the supply failed the men might be seen searching in the refuse boxes in the back yards, or if an animal died and was carted away, it very soon disappeared.
Although most of the town people treated the Indians very kindly, there were some unscrupulous ones, who supplied them with "fire water" when there were no officers of the law nearby. The liquor crazed them and led them into all kinds of trouble. Some of them when under its influence became a terror to everyone near them.
In the spring of 1885, the second Riel rebellion broke out, and it was believed Indians came from the reserves in the west and tried to induce the Sioux to join them in rebellion, but though they were excited and restless, some influence, probably the kindness of the white people restrained them, or perhaps a remembrance of their history in the United States made them doubtful of the success of the rebellion. At any rate they remained where they were, But for a time we were very fearful and thought they might be persuaded to join the rebels,
For a long time, as it came out afterwards, the sight of these Indians roaming about our streets in paint and feathers and with no thought of God except in a dim idea of a great spirit and red rags tied on the trees as a sort of symbol of Him, gave some of the women of the Presbyterian Church an uneasy feeling, that it was not enough to be kind to them, that something should be done to bring them to a higher conception of God. On Sundays when our Minister Rev. Alan Bell prayed for missionaries and missions in all parts of the world our minds turned to the pagans on our streets and we were not very happy. And no doubt the rebellion that year intensified these feelings. We felt we should be doing something to teach them about the Prince of Peace and His interest in them.
One day early in January 1886, I went into the home of Mrs.
John McLeod whose husband was one of the merchants of the town and an elder in the Presbyterian church, whose home was open to all and sundry, specially to strangers. Almost before I was seated Mrs. McLeod said to me, "Do you think anything could be done for these Indians?" Instantly I knew what she meant and I replied, "I don't know, suppose we try," From these two sentences sprang the effort that resulted in the opening of a small school, the beginning of what afterwards became the "Indian Residential School." The thoughts that had so long lain dormant in our minds were at last to clothe themselves in action.