Arrival of Strangers - The Last 500 Years



"As peaceable and law-abiding citizens in the past, and even in the late war, we have performed dutiful service to our King, Country and Empire, and we have the right to claim and demand more justice and fair play as a recompense."

- Frederick Ogilvie Loft, quoted in J.R. Miller

Approximately 4,000 Status Indians in Canada volunteered for military service during World War I, followed by more than 3,000 during World War II. An unrecorded number of Métis and Inuit volunteers fought alongside them. Aboriginal Canadians also fought in Korea. Hundreds of Aboriginal Canadians continue the military service tradition today.

Frederick Ogilvie Loft - Library and Archives Canada - PA-007439 Edith Anderson Monture - Courtesy: Helen Moses
(left) Lt. Frederick Ogilvie Loft, First World War Veteran, member of the Six Nations, about 1918
Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, PA-007439

Aboriginal veterans and their supporters were vocal in demanding improved rights for Aboriginal people in post-War Canadian society. Lt.Frederick Ogilivie Loft organized the first national Native political organization in Canada in 1919, the League of Indians of Canada.

(right) Edith Anderson Monture, about 1919
Courtesy of Helen Moses

Edith Anderson Monture, a Mohawk band member from the Six Nations reserve in Ontario, served as a nurse with the American Expeditionary Force in France during the First World War.

In the aftermath of both World Wars and the Korean conflict, many Aboriginal veterans became leaders in their communities, or with the fledgling Aboriginal political organizations. Realizing that they had fought for others' freedom even though they did not have full legal rights in their own country, Aboriginal veterans and their supporters demanded improved rights for Aboriginal people. At that time, the Indian Act restricted the rights of Status Indians to organize politically. But Aboriginal people renewed the fight for social justice in Canada, stressing human and minority rights. In 1960, Status Indians obtained the right to vote in federal elections.

Telegram - Courtesy: John Moses Crest - I-A-1070 - S2002-8149 - CD2004-0362
(left) Telegram, Lt. Moses is missing, 1918
Courtesy of John Moses

Lt. James David Moses, a schoolteacher and Lenape (Delaware) band member from the Six Nations reserve in Ontario, was reported missing while serving with the Royal Air Force in France during the First World War. He was later confirmed as killed in action.

(right) Embroidered crest
Canadian Museum of Civilization, I-A-1070, S2002-8149, CD2004-0362

From the Manitoba Chapter of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association.

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