Introduction

During the First and Second World Wars in particular, First Nations reserves in Canada witnessed the departure of many of their young adult members. Here a chief blesses a new recruit who is about to leave her reserve after enlisting in 1942, during the Second World War. (Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada / PA-129070)

The war proved that the fighting spirit of my tribe was not squelched through reservation life. When duty called, we were there, and when we were called forth to fight for the cause of civilization, our people showed all the bravery of our warriors of old.

Mike Mountain Horse, First World War Veteran 1

Being from a reservation and barely able to speak English ...it was a sudden integration. It was a shock. I was stunned for two or three months while taking basic training.

Peter Whitecloud, Second World War Veteran 2

On our way to Korea, I was outside on the ship standing on the rail just thinking about home and why I had to leave home. Yet, I was very glad I joined the army because my father was in the First World War. My brother was in World War Two and I thought I might as well join the army, too.

Allan Bird, Korean War Veteran 3
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