“Growing Together”: The Cultural Contribution of Indigenous People in the Canadian Military since the First World War

John MacFarlane


During the First World War the culture of the Canadian Army reflected the society of the time. Today Indigenous peoples are welcomed, their cultural heritage appreciated and encouraged. This transformation of the Canadian military can be explained in part by how our society has evolved but even more by how Indigenous members of the CAF have proven that they can ‘do the job.’ This article presents the perceptions of some Indigenous veterans who adapted, in various ways, to military culture while also retaining elements of their own culture.  In most histories of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian military, the focus has been on how the Armed Forces changed them; but after a century it is increasingly clear how much Indigenous people have changed the military.



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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.