Essay on Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military

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Throughout history, Aboriginals have been misunderstood and mistreated, despite their contributions to the country. There were many native men who gave their lives during the first World War and numerous native communities that did anything they could to help the war effort in Canada. Aboriginals contributed in many ways to serve their country during World War I.

At the beginning of World War I, the Canadian government was hesitant about Aboriginals in the military. When the war broke in 1914, recruitment of “Status Indians” was prohibited, as they were often connected to torture and scalping. Some natives enlisted in face of the law, thanks to a commitment to their land. It wasn't until 1916 that the government allowed active
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Impressively, 100% of adult Aboriginal men from the Mi'kmaq reserve in Sydney, Nova Scotia volunteered. The province of Ontario saw some of the highest native enlistment numbers. “Areas around Brantford (Six Nations) and Tyendinaga (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) became the highest sources of Indian enlistment in Canada” (Lackenbauer, Moses, Scheffield and Gohier 123). Even with large quantities of Aboriginal soldiers, there were no exclusively Aboriginal battalions. Several battalions, nonetheless, consisted of great numbers of natives, including the 114th Battalion, also known as Brock's Rangers and the 107th Battalion, also known as the Timber Wolf Battalion. During the First World War, the voluntary service from Aboriginal men was significantly larger than expected.

Aboriginals made very good snipers and scouts thanks to their hunting skills. Stereotypically, native men have good eyes, patience and a sharp shot. When combined with military level training, Aboriginals make exceptional snipers. Francis Pegahmegabow, one of the most acclaimed snipers in the Great War, is credited with 378 kills. He was also awarded the Military Medal and two bars for his service. Another distinguished sniper was Métis Henry Norwest. He was credited with 115 kills and the Military Medal. Furthermore, at least 37 Aboriginal men were honoured for bravery in the first world war.

After the First World War, Aboriginals
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