Lesson 1 : Aboriginal Soldiers in Canadian History For 200 years, First Nation soldiers have played a significant role in Canadian military history. Aboriginal people participated in non-Aboriginal conflict that arose in North America around years of 1700s to 1800s. Following the War of 1812, the importance of Aboriginal allies declined because international conflicts on the continent were ultimately ended. During the first half of the WWI, Aboriginal volunteers were not accepted into military service. In the second half of the war, when lack of man power became critical, Aboriginal people were welcomed; however, as “wards of the state” their participation was strictly based on volunteers.
In WWII (1939-45), the government assured Aboriginal leaders that this registration was only a procedure, but the government violated the promise in 1944 and established conscription legislation. • Aboriginal people did not have any of the privileges at this point in history such as the right to vote, to buy alcohol, and to attend university. • Aboriginal communities in Canada organized and protested against the government’s unjustified changes to war policies regarding Aboriginal people.
Lesson 2 : Discrimination within the Armed Forces and Life After the War Aboriginal people were discriminated against in the war. While they were forced to register for active duty, they were not given the same choice as Europeans. Royal Canadian Navy accepted pure European descent and of the white race up until 1943. Even though policies were extinguished after these years, First Nations were only accepted in army and were not welcomed in any other forces. Until 1944, Aboriginal people thought that it was mandatory to serving to Army because the officials did not inform such information to them.
Aboriginals were stereotype in negative ways. • Sto:lo veterans discouraged because Europeans continued racisms even though Sto:lo veterans dedicated their lives in the war. • Sto:lo veterans were rejected by their own community as well because many people thought they ignored traditional culture to “become White”.
Lesson 3 : Stolo Veterans Helping and Healing Commuities Today, many members of the Sto:lo community appreciate and have respect for the efforts of Sto:lo veterans. Sto:lo veterans began working to assist their communities to achieve a more fulfilling and respectable position within the broader Canadian society. The Royal Canadian Legion and the organization helped to change the most racist in Indian Act. In 1969, WWII veterans played key roles in organizing an effective opposition and their leadership made the government to rethink about reversing its position.