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.
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.