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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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Metis servicemenIt is believed that one in three eligible men among the Aboriginal communities volunteered for military service in the First World War. That equalled approximately 4000 servicemen and women. This count does not include non-status Indians or Métis. As well, it did not include soldiers from the North West Territories or Newfoundland.

Native enthusiasm for the war effort was evident across Canada. Some reserves were nearly emptied of young men. One report put the number of Métis servicemen in the two World Wars at 2600. Given the estimated 4000 Aboriginals and the relative proportion of population, it is possible that as many as 5000 Métis served in the two wars. However, it is impossible to prove with Federal documentation how many Métis and non-status people actually served. The records do not exist, because these people were not allowed to include their ethnic origin when they enlisted. What is known is the reputation of the Métis servicemen and women. They were known for courage, skill and fighting spirit. Certain Métis soldiers set such high standards by their acts of courage and daring that they received the highest honours.

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Sharpshooter: Henry Norwest

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