“In one sense, Frog Lake is a simple event of a proud people pushed down into poverty and into starvation. As a warrior, you’re not thinking ahead very far, but at the same time you are responsible for feeding your people. So, you can understand what drove them. But at the same time you cannot justify in any sense their killing ten defenceless people, including two priests in the process of holding their religious ceremonies. That is unjustifiable. Big Bear never justified it, to anyone; he was as saddened as anyone by those events. So perhaps by just sweeping it under the carpet we have not really resolved or talked about this. Every once in a while a historian talks about it briefly but there is no wider discussion about it like there is about what happened at Batoche.
“As Canada’s relations with Japanese-Canadians, and now with Ukrainian-Canadians, prove, these tragedies, these horrors, sit there in our lives, and maybe at some point we should just talk about them openly, bring them to public witness. And then we can deal with them. They were long ago and we can’t change the facts, but we can talk them through. This is what human beings do, they talk things through until they come to some kind of understanding among themselves. And that’s the way we resolve problems, we don’t go around shooting people. You cannot change history but what we can do about history is talk about it and try to understand it.
“We haven’t talked about it enough, I don’t think.”
— Rudy Wiebe, The Frog Lake Reader, ed. Myrna Kostash (pp. 199-200)
The air of this place is full. The saskatoon bushes behind the fence even fuller.