Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Dec.15, 1940)


Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Dec.15, 1940)


The artistic abilities of boys in St. George's Indian Residential School in Lytton, B.C.


First correspondence between Noel Stewart and Alice Ravenhill. Mention made of the latter's students' propensity for art and especially illustrating the legends of their people (Thompson Tribe). Mr. Stewart asks for a report from Mrs. Ravenhill of the British Columbia Indian Arts and Crafts Welfare Society.


Noel Stewart


Royal BC Museum, BC Archives (F/I/R19)


Dec.15, 1940


St. George’s School
Lytton, B.C.

Dear Miss Ravenhill:

It was indeed very kind of you to write us such an encouraging letter, and of course we are glad to know you are interested in the Indian People. Last year I read your book on the “Native Tribes of B.C.” I received a lot of help from it. I was [upotils] last Sept the teacher of the Alert Bay Indian Day School. Probably Capt. Barry showed you some of our Art attempts. He had our drawings in Victoria about 14 [days?] ago. Later I received your color charts from Capt. Barry, so we were able to reproduce some copies of your work. Prior to my Alert Bay time I taught at Hazelton. B.C. and before that at Cardston Alta. However, all were Indian schools and all were good in Art. Yes art is loved by all the Indian people and I find they have a deep pride in their legends. My pupils here love their legends but they did not know any of them until I dug them up this Fall. After hearing the legend they want to draw illustrations for them. I never give them any help in the drawing though I have suggested changes in the setting. As to your inquiry about Reynold Smith here, he is only one of my good artists. There are six very outstanding pupils to my class of 34. You might have seen the two stories we had in the ‘Sun” lately (1) The Tobacco Ceremony (2) The Animal People’s Dance. These were done by pupils other than Reynold. Also last Saturday Dec.14th our Nativity story was in Province Paper. The Free Press Winnipeg published our drawing done by Oliver Stewart of the Animal People’s Health Rules. The family Herald accepted three drawings of Mr. and Mrs. Coyote done by 3 of my pupils also. The other type of art done by the Thompson Indians is all conventional design work. Very nice to look at but mechanical to draw. This appeals to the girls but is not just what the boys like to do. The boys want their characters to really live. I am certainly interested in hearing a report of your committee. It is very kind of you to offer me a report. Anyone who is working like you are to revive arts, crafts and legends is doing a marvellous piece of work. I thank you again for writing to me. I have Reynold your kind wishes. Merry Christmas to you from Reynold!

Noel Stewart




Noel Stewart, “Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Dec.15, 1940),” The Story is More than Itself, accessed September 23, 2018,