Contribution for Canadian Identity Essay

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Throughout history, Canadian aboriginals have not been recognized for their contribution, sacrifices, and involvement in Canadian war efforts. During the First and Second World Wars, many aboriginals enlisted themselves in the services for the Canadian Armed Forces. In World War I, aboriginal soldiers like Corporal (Cpl). Francis Pegahmagabow and Henry Norwest helped advance the Canadian identity with their skills and bravery in Canadian fought battles. Tommy Prince in World War II worked hard to further maintain the Canadian identity. Aboriginal soldiers courage, sacrifices, and accomplishments further developed Canadian identity in World War I and World War II.

Aboriginal, Corporal (Cpl) Francis Pegahmagabow contributed his brave actions for the development of the Canadian identity. It was during his first year on the Western Front that Pegahmagabow became one of the first Canadians to be awarded the Military Medal (MM). He received his MM for his service as a messenger in battles such the Battle of Ypres. Pegahmagabow was a messenger from February 1915 to February 1916; he carried messages with great bravery and success during the whole of the actions at Ypres, Festubert and Givenchy. [1] The bravery of Pegahmagabow resulted in the halt of the German advance. The defeat of the Germans was important in Canadian history because, the world now saw Canada as an independent nation that could unite as one to fight for their rights and freedom. Pegahmagabow was important because his job of delivering messages allowed access to information about the German advance which in turn resulted in a Canadian victory. This victory gave the Canadians an independent identity.

At the Battle of Passchendaele, Pegahmagabow added the first bar to his MM for his work of running across the land through the tough war conditions to bring back valuable information for his unit. The information Pegahmagabow provided resulted in the success of the attack and saving valuable time in consolidating. [2] The courage of the aboriginal soldier Cpl. Pegahmagabow and his excellent work contributed to the success of the Canadians capturing the Passchendaele Ridge. The victory of the battle of Passchendaele was vital in the development of the Canadian identity because the British Army had previously tried to capture the Passchendaele Ridge for three months but had not succeeded. The Canadians captured the ridge mainly because of the support and the contribution of such soldiers like Pegahmagabow, and therefore Canadians accomplished goals that other countries had failed to do.

During Pegahmagabows service in the Canadian Armed Forces Cpl. Pegahmagabow captured 300 soldiers and shot 378. [3] As a result of his achievements, Pegahmagabow served as a catalyst for Canada to be able to have a presence on a global scale. Cpl. Pegahmagabow was also a skilled marksmanship, which allowed him to succeed at the battlefront. Applying these skills resulted in a high number of casualties on the German side which, identified him as a valuable soldier. This was a great advantage for the Canadian side as the strength of the enemy forces was weakened, therefore Canadians were a step closer to wining the war. This achievement by an aboriginal soldier further contributed to the Canadian identity.

Henry Norwest, another aboriginal, contributed to the development of the Canadian identity by utilizing his fine skills in sniping. Norwest was given his first MM after the capture of the Pimple peak on Vimy Ridge because, Norwest showed great bravery, skill and initiative in sniping the enemy after the capture of the Pimple. [4] The sniping skills Norwest possessed led to the Canadians capturing the peak on Vimy Ridge. Killing the enemy after the capture of the Pimple peak was important because, the skillful aboriginal saved a great number of Canadian soldiers. This battle was also of great significance in Canadian history, as Canadians, once again proved to the world that they are a capable, strong nation that that can overcome obstacles regardless of the circumstances or previous failed attempts. On the other hand, with the skills of aboriginal soldiers like Norwest, the Canadians were able to conquer the Pimple.

Norwest had all the essential skills a sniper needed to be successful. Norwest had excellent marksmanship, an ability to keep perfectly still for very long periods and superb camouflage techniques.[5] These skills made Norwest a lethal Canadian aboriginal sniper. Being a lethal sniper, Norwest was crucial for the development in the Canadian identity. By camouflaging, Norwest deceived the enemy and hence sniped them. The contribution of this aboriginal soldier gave Canadians the identity as strategic planners.

Norwest was a skilled and fatal sniper because he achieved a sniping record of 115 fatal shots. [6] Norwest shot down many enemy soldiers and as a result, this reduced the number of enemies to fight. By reducing the number of enemies, Norwest also enabled the Canadians to be another step closer to winning the war. Canadians proved that they are a mighty, powerful and strong army because of Canadian aboriginal soldiers such as Norwest, who shot down many enemy soldiers efficiently.

In the Second world war, aboriginal soldier Tommy Princes brave actions and unique ability, led to the further enhancement of the Canadian identity. In 1944 in Italy, Tommy Prince showed his bravery while spying on a German camp. While he was reporting the German activity, his communication line was damaged but, [b]y pretending to tie his shoes, he successfully repaired the break in full view of the German soldiers.[7] Princes utmost bravery led to the destruction of four German tanks, which were shooting at the Allied forces. Prince risked his life to fulfill his duty as a spy. This act of the aboriginal soldiers bravery was pivotal for the development of the Canadian identity. Canadians proved that they are risk takers and are capable of fulfilling their duty with bravery.

King George VI decorated Tommy Prince with the Silver Star and ribbon, an American honour because Prince occupied new heights and successfully wiped out the enemy encampment area [8] in the summer of 1944 for going behind enemy lines and locating a German camp. Tommy Prince located the camp and then with his brigade, captured more than 1000 German soldiers. This technique of locating the German camp led to the reduction in the number of German soldiers. This commendable mission carried out by aboriginal soldier, Prince, was essential for the development for the Canadian identity. This mission was significant because the world saw Canadians as a strong nation that has a strong military capable of destruction of the enemies.

Tommy Prince had skills which allowed him to be a part of the special airborne force with 1600 of the toughest men to be found in Canada and the United States. [9] Tommy Prince possessed essential paratrooper skills. He possessed the skills of landing and crawling on his belly, with the swiftness of a snake. These skills made Prince a successful paratrooper. The aboriginal soldier applied his exemplary skills at the battle front to further enrich the Canadian identity. Soldiers such as Prince were symbols to represent the Canadians as tactful and skillful warriors.

During the First and the Second World Wars, many aboriginal Canadians volunteered for the Canadian Armed Forces and contributed in the development of the Canadian identity. With the unique and effective skills of Francis Pegahmagabow and Henry Norwest the Canadian identity was enhanced. Tommy Princes courage and dedication for his nation helped Canada gain a military reputation throughout the world. The contribution, sacrifices, and involvement of aboriginals should not be forgotten because aboriginal soldiers were important for the enrichment of the Canadian identity.

Works Cited

Prince of the Brigade, Canadian Government Site. Web. 28 April 2011

Sharpshooter: Henry Louis Norwest, Canadian Government Site. Web. 3 May 2011

Treasures Gallery Francis Pegahmagabows Medals, Canadian Museum of Civilization. Web.2 May 2011

Gaffen, Fred. Forgotten Soldiers, 1985 Penticton, B.C.:
Theytus Books. Print

Livesey, Robert, and A. G. Smith. The Great War. 2006 Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Print

Lloyd, Dohla. Thomas Prince: Canadas Forgotten Aboriginal War Hero. First Nations Drum Canadas National Native Newspaper, September 2002. Article.

Henry Norwest, University of Calgary. Web.
29 April 2011

A Peaceful Man Veterans Affairs Canada. Veterans Affairs Canada. Web. 27 April 2011

Wheeler, Victor W. The 50th Battalion in No Mans Land, 2000, Ottawa, Ont.: CEF Books. Print

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[1] Veterans Affairs Canada, A Peaceful Man Veterans Affairs Canada., last modified 2011-02-23, http:/www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/sub.cfm?source=history/other/native/peaceful [2] Canadian Museum of Civilization, Treasures Gallery Francis Pegahmagabows Medals, last modified 2010-05-27, http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/tresors/treasure/280eng.shtml [3] Livesey, Robert, and A. G. Smith. The Great War . Markham, Ont.: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006, 84 [4] University of Calgary Henry Norwest, last modified 2010, http://library.ucalgary.ca/node/599 [5] Canadian Government Site. Sharpshooter: Henry Louis Norwest, Date Created: 1996-12-22, Date Modified: 2006-12-15, http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/sub.cfm?source=history/other/native/norwest [6] Wheeler, Victor W. The 50th Battalion in No Mans Land, Ottawa, Ont.: CEF Books, 2000, 283 [7] Gaffen, Fred. Forgotten Soldiers, Penticton, B.C.: Theytus Books, 1985, 56 [8] Canadian Government Site. Prince of the Brigade, Date Created: 1996-12-22, Date Modified: 2006-12-15, http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/sub.cfm?source=history/other/native/prince [9] Lloyd, Dohla. Thomas Prince: Canadas Forgotten Aboriginal War Hero. First Nations Drum Canadas National Native Newspaper, September 2002.

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