“They Should Vanish Into Thin Air ... and Give no Trouble”: Canadian Aboriginal Veterans of World Wars

  • Magdalena Paluszkiewicz-Misiaczek Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland

Abstract

The article presents how the introduction of the Pensions Act and Soldier Settlement Act during the First World War and a comprehensive Veterans’ Charter during the Second World War helped Canada to solve many veteran re-establishment problems. Thanks to these relatively far-reaching and efficient systems of care for the returning soldiers, the vast majority of Canadian ex-servicemen were offered retraining courses, employment and educational possibilities, land grants, and disability pensions. Canadian Aboriginal ex-service personnel were exceptions to this rule, however, and received inequitable treatment. This article explores the reasons why most Aboriginal soldiers were deprived of opportunities and possibilities to make their own, informed, rational decisions about reintegration into civilian society upon return to Canada. Furthermore, it shows how (after the initial months of post-war appreciation) the majority of First-Nations veterans were forced to accept their inferior status, Indian Act restrictions,  and the omnipotence of Indian agents.  

 

 

Author Biography

Magdalena Paluszkiewicz-Misiaczek, Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland

Magdalena Paluszkiewicz-Misiaczek, an Associate Professor of Political Science, works at the Chair of Canada in the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland. Her research concentrates on Canadian social and public policy in historical and contemporary perspectives. One of her interests is the Canadian model of care provided for the veterans of foreign missions, on which she has written the book Respect and Support: The Canadian System of Veteran Care (2015, in Polish) as well as articles and book chapters on “Canadian Policy Towards Veterans - From WWI to Afghanistan”; “Aboriginal Peoples in the Canadian Military”; and “Diversity in the Canadian Armed Forces – Historical Perspective and Current Problems.”

Published
2019-02-01
Section
Articles