21 June 2017
National Aboriginal Day

Pte. Tom Longboat the Indian long distance runner buying a paper from a little French newspaper boy. June 1917. Library and Archives Canada / PA-001479 (modified from the original)

During the First World War, thousands of Indigenous soldiers served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Many became snipers or reconnaissance scouts, but Indigenous soldiers served in numerous roles throughout the CEF. Fighting in regular military units, over 37 were decorated for bravery during the war.

Despite close camaraderie with non-Indigenous soldiers, their return home was plagued with unequal treatment and marginalization.

Notable Indigenous soldiers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force include long-distance runner Tom Longboat, Cameron Brant, Oliver Milton Martin, Sniper Henry Norwest and Sniper Francis Pegahmagabow whom we featured in our 100 Days of Vimy Post on 13 February 2017.