Most faithful allies remembered

SIX NATIONS – Contributions made by Onkwehon:we (Native) men and women to honour the Two Row Wampum and Silver Covenant Chain treaties with Great Britain go all the way back to before the American Revolution. But in more modern times, Onkwehon:we people continued to uphold their ancient promise made to Britain to stand as allies against any force that would seek to injure the Crown.

On Nov. 11th, Canada and Six Nations celebrate this loyal and costly relationship once again.

During the First World War, the official policy of the Dominion Government was that Natives should not participate in the conflict. At this time, First Nations’ Peoples did not have the right to vote and were considered through treaties and the Indian Act to be wards of the state. But from their vantage point, they could not be conscripted because they were not Canadians at all but rather a sovereign people ready through treaties made with there forefathers to fight alongside Britain as allies, and not subjects.

It was also argued that in many First Nations’ treaties it was stipulated that band members would be exempt from any Canadian military service. All Native soldiers who served were volunteers.

In fact, over 3,500 Indians enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force representing about 35 percent of the Native male population of military age.

Olympic runner Cogwagee, better known as Thomas Longboat, was among those who enlisted. Longboat made it back from the front, but Lieutenant Cameron D. Brant, the great-great grandson of the Mohawk leader and warrior Joseph Brant, did not, falling in the Second Battle of Ypres. An estimated 300 Native Warriors never returned home.

The loyalty of First Nations allies continued into WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, and all other conflicts around the world up to this day.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *