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

  • John MacFarlane Directorate of History and Heritage at the Department of National Defence

Abstract

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.

 

 

Author Biography

John MacFarlane, Directorate of History and Heritage at the Department of National Defence

John MacFarlane is a historian at the Directorate of History and Heritage at the Department of National Defence. He participated in the research for the DND publication A Commemorative History of Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military and wrote “La participation des autochtones canadiens aux deux guerres mondiales sur le sol français,” in G. Havard and M. Augeron eds., Un continent en partage: Cinq siècles de rencontres entre Amérindiens et Français, (Paris: Rivages des Xantons, 2013). 

Published
2019-02-01
Section
Articles