November 8th commemorates Indigenous Veterans Day. This reading list highlights a few titles in our collection that illustrate the contributions of Indigenous veterans in the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War.
During the Second World War, Indigenous people in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada mobilised en masse to support the war effort, despite withstanding centuries of colonialism. Their roles ranged from ordinary soldiers fighting on distant shores, to soldiers capturing Japanese prisoners on their own territory, to women working in munitions plants on the home front. R. Scott Sheffield and Noah Riseman examine Indigenous experiences of the Second World War across these four settler societies. Informed by theories of settler colonialism, martial race theory and military sociology, they show how Indigenous people and their communities both shaped and were shaped by the Second World War. Particular attention is paid to the policies in place before, during and after the war, highlighting the ways that Indigenous people negotiated their own roles within the war effort at home and abroad.
Author Timothy C. Winegard reveals how national and international forces directly influenced the more than 4,000 status Indians who voluntarily served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1919—a per capita percentage equal to that of Euro-Canadians—and how subsequent administrative policies profoundly affected their experiences at home, on the battlefield, and as returning veterans.
During the Second World War, thousands of First Nations people joined in the national crusade to defend freedom and democracy. High rates of Native enlistment and public demonstrations of patriotism encouraged Canadians to re-examine the roles and status of Native people in Canadian society. The Red Man's on the Warpath explores how wartime symbolism and imagery propelled the "Indian problem" onto the national agenda, and why assimilation remained the goal of post-war Canadian Indian policy - even though the war required that it be rationalized in new ways.
This documentary introduces us to thousands of Indigenous Canadians who enlisted and fought alongside their countrymen and women during World War II, even though they could not be conscripted. Ironically, while they fought for the freedom of others, they were being denied equality in their own country and returned home to find their land seized.
Loretta Todd's poignant film offers forth the testimony of those who were there, and how they managed to heal.
First Nations, Métis and Inuit people have a long and proud tradition of military service to present day Canada. This site includes the personal stories of Indigenous veterans to illuminate their contributions.