Ningwakwe Learning Press published a booklet to highlight the important roles of peacekeeper, warrior, soldier and veteran within First Nation culture. This book, Honouring Our Peacekeepers – Overview of Aboriginal Veterans & Peacekeepers, is a good classroom resource to promote awareness and discussion for Remembrance Day, November 11th.
First Nations in Canada have served in every major war that was ever fought involving regular Canadian or British troops. Over 4 000 warriors joined Canada in the First World War and at least 50 medals were awarded to Aboriginal soldiers for their bravery while sniping, scouting or other heroic acts. In 1919, the Prince of Wales visited the Brantford area and presented the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation with a bronze tablet to commemorate the 88 members who were killed in military action. It is estimated that at least 300 Aboriginal soldiers died in WWI.
All most every First Nation in Canada has a war memorial and honours their veterans each year, either in special ceremonies or at their annual powwow.
National Aboriginal Veterans Monument
In Confederation Park, in downtown Ottawa, a monument honours Aboriginal Canadians who have volunteered in Canada’s armed forces, from the First World War to the present day. Created by Aboriginal artist Lloyd Pinay of the Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan.
For further reading:
- Canadian War Museum – First Nation soldiers
- What happened to WWII First Nation soldiers upon returning to Canada:
- History timeline and database of Saskatchewan First Nation veterans:
- Soldiers of Aboriginal ancestry from Newfoundland and Labrador fought and sometimes died during the First World War but their histories remain largely unknown.