Native Involvement

During the First World War, thousands of Indigenous peoples voluntarily enlisted in the Canadian military. While the exact enlistment number is unknown, it is estimated that well over 4,000 Indigenous peoples served in the Canadian forces during the conflict.

About one third of First Nations people in Canada age 18 to 45 enlisted during the war. Métis and Inuit soldiers also enlisted; however, only status Indians were officially recorded by the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Indigenous soldiers served in units with other Canadians throughout the CEF. They served in every major theatre of the war and participated in all of the major battles in which Canadian troops fought. Hundreds were wounded or lost their lives on foreign battlefields. Many Indigenous peoples distinguished themselves as talented and capable soldiers and at least 50 were awarded medals for bravery and heroism. Indigenous women were active on the home front, contributing to the war effort through fundraising and other means. After returning from service, many Indigenous veterans experienced the same unequal treatment they experienced prior to the war. Indigenous veterans were not awarded the same benefits as their non-Indigenous counterparts.

It is estimated that more than 1200 Indigenous soldiers were killed or wounded in WWI.

* information taken from the Government of Canada website