Remembering Canada's Forgotten Soldiers at Contemporary Powwows1Quote has been trimmed
The level of involvement by Native Americans in the Canadian military in times of war during the twentieth century is generally not well known by the Canadian public despite the fact that the Native level of participation and enlistment was proportionately higher than the non Native population (Schmalz 1991: 228; Dickason 1997: 304). Over 4000 Native Americans enlisted in the Canadian military during the First World War, more than 3000 enlisted for World War Two and hundreds of Canadian Natives participated in the Korean War (Summerby 1993: 3). Additionally, many Natives from Canada also enlisted in the American military forces due to their “...more lenient physical standards, better pay and less discrimination” (Gaffen 1985: 72). One of the key reasons for the enlistment of Native Americans was the esteem that was associated with their status as ‘warriors’; Historian Fred Gaffen commented on this “warrior prestige,’ writing:
Much more than in the white community the warrior had prestige and status in traditional Indian society. For some Indians a motive for enlisting was the opportunity to assert their manhood.... In reading some accounts that earned Native Canadian military decorations on the battlefields of both World Wars, it becomes apparent that the, skills of the Indian hunter and warrior came to the fore (Gaffen 1985: 15). With the enlistment of Native...