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First Nations Veterans Have Always Volunteered As Allies. (In Progress)

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Dominion Stories

Edit: 0ctober 28 2012 ,(added) note (*2)


"Voluntary contributions were one thing; compulsion was another. The most contentious issue facing Aboriginal peoples in Canada during the world wars was conscription, or compulsory military service. While members of so many communities had willingly enlisted as volunteers, they did not believe that they should be forced into military service." (*1)

"“Stephen Simon reached the front lines in Korea with the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the fall of 1951. As an infantry radio operator, he experienced some dangerous situations. In June 1952, he was in a bunker in front of Hill 133 where officers came to observe the enemy position. One of the field medical officers did not pay heed to warnings to keep his head down. ‘I think it was the third time he popped his head out,’ Simon recalled, ‘the shell … blew his head off. Things like that happened and … the rest of us continue fighting until the day we die.’ Thankfully, Simon did not become a casualty of war. His status as a registered Indian, however, could have. While overseas, he received a letter from his Indian agent advising him to give up his Indian status and enfranchise as a Canadian citizen:

“‘I didn’t know what to do;

there were no other Indian people around to turn to for advice.

I thought of my commanding officer.

I said to myself,

being an army man he wouldn’t know anything about Indians himself,

but anyway I had to look for some kind of advice and so I got an interview with him.

I asked him what he would do.

He looked at my form and he looked [at] me for a while.

“You asked me for advice, this is what I want to do”,

so he took the form and tore it up in shreds and threw it in his waste basket,

and said,

“I advise you do not sell your status.

Do not let anyone steal or take your status – maintain your status, 

this is my advice,

you can always get another form if you wish to go ahead with this.

” I always remembered that.

I never did get another form and I never did sell my status.’


“‘It’s not easy, when a soldier goes to war and comes back, the war does not end there,’ Stephen Simon explained. ‘Like the Korean War, they say it was over in 1953, but [for] most of us, it doesn’t end there, it … stays with us … the rest of our lives.’ That is why Simon always participates in Remembrance Day:  ‘We show our gratefulness to all the veterans, in general, that had fought and sacrificed their lives in the dark days of war.'”

-Stephen Simon from Elsipogtog First Nation (formerly called Big Cove)"(*2)








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