Resources about Indigenous Military History
Online streaming video from the National Film Board of Canada.
Production date: 1997
Director/script, Loretta Todd
Although they could not be conscripted, when World War II was declared, thousands of Canadian Aboriginal men and women enlisted and fought alongside their non-Native countrymen. While they fought for freedom for others, ironically the Aboriginal soldiers were not allowed equality in their own country. As a reward for fighting, the Canadian Soldier Veteran's Settlement Act allowed returning soldiers to buy land at a cheap price. However, many of the Aboriginal soldiers were never offered nor told about the land entitlement. Some returned home to find the government had seized parts of their own reserve land to compensate non-Native war veterans. Whole First Nations communities still mourn the loss of the thousands of acres of prime land they were forced to surrender. With narrator Gordon Tootoosis providing an historical overview, Aboriginal veterans share their war memories and their healing process.
Forgotten soldiers by
Call Number: Weldon 2nd Floor D810.I5G33 2008
Publication Date: 2008
Illustrated history of Canada's native people in both World Wars. Four sections: the First World War, between the wars, the Second World War, and a comparison with native peoples in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.
From the Tundra to the Trenches by
Call Number: Online, King's E99.E7W394 2016
Publication Date: 2016-09-15
"'My name is Weetaltuk; Eddy Weetaltuk. My Eskimo tag name is E9-422.' So begins From the 'Tundra to the Trenches.' Weetaltuk means 'innocent eyes' in Inuktitut, but to the Canadian government, he was known as E9-422: E for Eskimo, 9 for his community, 422 to identify Eddy. In 1951, Eddy decided to leave James Bay. Because Inuit weren't allowed to leave the North, he changed his name and used this new identity to enlist in the Canadian Forces: Edward Weetaltuk, E9-422, became Eddy Vital, SC-17515, and headed off to fight in the Korean War. In 1967, after fifteen years in the Canadian Forces, Eddy returned home. He worked with Inuit youth struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and, in 1974, started writing his life's story. This compelling memoir traces an Inuk's experiences of world travel and military service."-- Provided by publisher.
Native soldiers, foreign battlefields by
Call Number: Online, Weldon 1st Floor JL103.9.V47 2005.N38
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
During the First World War, at least 4,000 Indian men volunteered to join the Allied forces in European battlefields. More than 3,000 Canadian Indians served during the Second World War, and it is estimated that several hundred Natives volunteered to help the United Nations defend South Korea during the Korean War. This document describes the experiences of some twenty Native veterans and presents a general overview of the wartime sacrifices and achievements of all of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.
Sounding Thunder by
Call Number: Education, Huron E99.C6M3195 2016
Publication Date: 2016-10-01
Francis Pegahmagabow (1889-1952), an Ojibwe of the Caribou clan, was born in Shawanaga First Nation, Ontario. Enlisting at the onset of the First World War, he served overseas as a scout and sniper and became Canada's most decorated Indigenous soldier. After the war, Pegahmagabow settled in Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, where he married and raised six children. He served his community as both Chief and Councillor and was a founding member of the Brotherhood of Canadian Indians, the first national Indigenous political organization. In 1949 and 1950, he was elected the Supreme Chief of the National Indian Government. Presented in their original Ojibwe as well as in English translation.
To find more resources on Indigenous people in the military, click on the sample searches below:
Indigenous AND soldiers
Also try searching by the individual war you are interested in:
Indigenous AND "World War, 1939-1945"
(Indigenous OR "First Nations" OR aboriginal OR inuit OR metis) AND d:(veterans OR soldiers)
or perform your own search in the library catalogue.
For collection suggestions or more information about Indigenous collections at Western or the Affiliates, contact: