Ned was Metis; Charlie was Loucheux. Today, the boys would be known as First Nations; but in the 1960s, they were either Metis or Loucheux. Both boys came from isolated communities in Canada’s far northern territory, Yukon. The boys were best friends at the Indian Residential School in Carcross. The Canadian government had made a law way back in 1911 that forced all Indian and Metis children to leave their families and live at a residential school where they would learn how to be “white”. In the 1960s, Choutla Residential School in Carcross was one of the last of the residential schools. That is when Charlie and Ned met Bishop Henry Marsh and his wife, Margaret. Choutla was run by the Anglican Church and Henry Marsh was Yukon’s Anglican Bishop. The children called him Ukulele Yukon, because he always carried his ukulele with him ready with a song in his heart and a song on the tip of his tongue.
Ukulele Yukon and his wife were the childrens’ friends. They did not like the residential schools. They did not like the children being taken from their families and never learning the ways of their ancestors. They taught Ned and Charlie and all the children at Choutla that it was O.K. to be Indian and it was O.K. to be Metis. Ned was a strong believer in what Ukulele Yukon told him. Ned knew that Indians and Metis did not have to be the losers. Ned was proud of being Metis. Charlie followed his example and was proud to be Loucheux.