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

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WWII

Many Métis also served in the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War. Again they were not formally categorized as Métis so to recognize them is very difficult. However, there were clearly many who served in the WWII, and some who so distinguished themselves that they can be easily identified. One of the Métis who received high honours was Charles Henry Byce. His mother was Cree from Moose Factory and his father was Henry Byce from Ontario, who had himself won both the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and France’s Medaille militaire.

Charles Henry Byce joined the Lake Superior Regiment and earned his first decoration of valour, a Military Medal, in January 1945, when he was the corporal in charge of a five-man group assigned to provide covering fire for a reconnaissance across the Maas River, When the patrol came under attack from three different enemy positions, Corporal Byce personally located two of them and silenced them with grenades. Six weeks later, he won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for guiding the remains of his battalion out of danger, after their tanks were all destroyed and the officers became casualties. With four enemy tanks approaching, Byce covered the retreat, sniping at the enemy infantry to keep them from overrunning his men as they worked their way back. Byce is just one illustration of the service given by several thousand Métis and non-status Indians during World War II. Many of the Métis Veterans who survive are active in local community and Métis Nation.

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