At the beginning of World War I, the Canadian government was hesitant about Aboriginals in the military. When the war broke in 1914, recruitment of “Status Indians” was prohibited, as they were often connected to torture and scalping. Some natives enlisted in face of the law, thanks to a commitment to their land. It wasn't until 1916 that the government allowed active recruitment of Status Indians by reason of Robert Borden's endeavours to replace the growing number of casualties on the front lines. Still the active recruitment of Aboriginals was an effort to encourage the men to join, not force them. However, in 1917, the Canadian government chose to enforce conscription, or mandatory military service. Native communities reacted very quickly to this news, writing to the government with letters noting that Aboriginals still did not have rights of citizens and should therefore be exempt from conscription. Finally, in January 1918, the cabinet passed an order-in-council absolving Aboriginals from compulsory enlistment. At the beginning of the Great War, Aboriginals were not accepted by the Canadian government for military service, but the Canadian leaders soon came to realize that native men would be a great addition to the service.
Regardless of the controversy with enlistment, Aboriginals contributed unexpectedly large numbers of men to fight with Canada during Worl...
... middle of paper ...
...e First World War commenced, Aboriginals were not treated as citizens of Canada and were forbidden from enlisting in the military. Many native men enlisted anyway, showing their support for their nation. The contributions of Aboriginals was beyond the expectations of anyone in Canada. Natives made outstanding snipers and scouts, and were honoured as some of the bravest soldiers in the military. Even when dealing with obvious mistreatment, the Aboriginals continued to take pride in their country and re-enlisted when the time came. Aboriginals contributed in many ways to serve their country during World War I.
Whitney Lackenbauer, P., John Moses, R. Scott Sheffield, and Maxime Gohier. Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military. N.p.: n.p., 2010. 118-55. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
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