Indigenous involvement in the World Wars has often been overlooked in Canadian history. In many ways, this has to do with the fact that there were no segregated First Nations units, meaning their contributions can fade into the larger non-Indigenous narrative.
Yet, this oversight is disrespectful to those men and women who served, especially considering that they did so in a time when Indigenous people were not considered Canadian citizens (a status only granted in 1960) and oftentimes they lost their Treaty
and status rights when enlisting in the First World War. Beyond that, upon returning home, veterans were released into Indian Agent custody and, after the First World War, did not receive any benefits; after the Second World War, they received
no or lesser benefits in comparison to non-Indigenous veterans. Indeed, many First Nations communities lost resources in the wake of the wars so that the Government could fulfill their promises to non-Indigenous veterans. In 1919, the Soldier Settlement
Board “acquired over 85,000 acres of reserve land in Western Canada for non-Aboriginal soldier settlement.” All this, while still having to fight for autonomy and the right to govern their own lives.