Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Feb.4, 1941)


Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Feb.4, 1941)


Noel Stewart informs Alice Ravenhill of many of the names of those in charge of Art education at many BC Indian Residential and Day schools. He writes that most administrators are apathetic to the use of art in educating the Aboriginal students, but that there is interest from various teachers as well. These sorts of arts-based initiatives, he tells her, have never before been attempted by educators in British Columbia. He also shares with her the success of a Christmas play developed by him and his students that was transmitted over the radio and for which they received - unexpectedly - a cheque, rewarding them for their efforts.


Noel Stewart


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


Feb.4, 1941


Our Xmas Story was broadcasted over radio at Xmas. I did not know this till we received a cheque for it, last week. This was over and above story fee.

St. George’s
Lytton, B.C.,
February 1, 1941

Dear Miss Ravenhill,

Following up my previous letter I now send to you the particulars you desired. Re: the name of our principal here, is Rev. A. R. Lett. He appears quite in favour of my art endeavours, though of course he doesn’t understand “Art” or delve into the Legends as I’d like him too. He says he has no objections to my doing as I desire and would be in favour of anything your Committee might decide with the Children’s work here. Father Lett has been here about [page break] 20 years and no doubt glad of anything new. They tell me I am the first teacher to come here that has made any attempt to develop the Indian Art and it’s the first year in the history of our school that any students work from here has appeared in print. By the way also, our Indian girl from here Edith Walkem is attending Victoria Normal School at present. No doubt she’ll teach here next Fall. Her brother Clarence is one of my pupils and one of the finest Jr. High School lads I’ve ever taught. Full of life and humor.

Now Re: Kamloops School. I’d write the principal if I were you. The Rev. J.M. Kennedy O.M. [I’d] and ask him to pass particulars [page break] on to his Art teacher. They usually have one “Sister” for Art. I should believe Kamloops would be a “good” spot.

At Alert Bay the teacher at Indian Boy School is Miss Aitken in Sr. Room and Miss Thick in Jr. Room. Miss Aitken is entirely new to Indian work but she has my pupils who were very good in Art, so all she needs to do is to give them suggestions and of they’ll go. They love Art.

Also in Alert Bay is a large Indian Res. School. Mr. J. Anfield is principal. They have up coast Indians in attendance. This school would be interested. Miss Findlay teaches the Sr. Boys and would be very keen. The letter here would be to Mr. Anfield. St. Michael’s School. Alert Bay, B.C. [page break]

I am hoping you have recovered from your illness. Be sure to take good care of yourself. Your too precious to our Indian Schools to be laid up. Do not try to overdo things—no hurry for anything. This is Friday afternoon and my boys are privileged to draw one hour. How they enjoy it. They seem to be all doing “bucking horses” or such. I’m a great lover of horses too and always speak of my riding days to them. I am enclosing to you a snap of myself (and afew ladies of our staff) Excuse my straw hat. Oh Re-Haelton Day Scl- teacher is Rev. J. Burling. However, I do not know if he is keen on Native Arts or not. [page break] Probably Capt Barry could give you a list of schools interested in our efforts. Miss J. Hill of Cape Mudge Indian Day School is very interested too in your work.

Thanking you for your many kindnesses, I remain.

Sincerely, Noel Stewart.

PS. Were you out of copies of Inkameep Xmas Story? I did not receive my copy. Did you get my .25 cents okay? I sent it with my letter just after Xmas. I would like to see the Oliver Tale if at all possible and the boys here would like to also. No hurry. Must rush now – Am taking a few Sr. Boys on a Weaver camp fire feed.

(Ever) Thanks. NS




Noel Stewart, “Noel Stewart to Alice Ravenhill (Feb.4, 1941),” The Story is More than Itself, accessed September 23, 2018,