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

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Korea

The Canadian Contribution

The Korean War began on 25 June 1950, when thousands of North Korean infantrymen, supported by tanks and aircraft, crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded South Korea. The United Nations (UN) Security Council voted to defend South Korea, and the Canadian government, headed by Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent, decided to commit a military force. In the end, fewer Canadians would serve in this war than in the two World Wars. However, Canada's contribution to the U.N. forces would be surpassed only by the United States and Great Britain. More than 26,000 Canadians participated during the war, and additional troops assumed peacekeeping roles after the Korea Armistice Agreement was signed.

Some of the Aboriginals who volunteered to serve in Korea were members of the active force of the Canadian Army, and therefore already trained and accustomed to military service. Additionally, many volunteers were veterans of an earlier war. Clement and Patrick Arcand from the Muskeg Lake Cree Band in Saskatchewan are two such examples. During the Second World War, Clement, Patrick and all eight of their brothers served in the armed forces. Moreover, their father, Louis, a veteran of the First World War, participated as a member of the Veterans Guard. In early 1952, Clement and Patrick enlisted in the CASF. Both privates, they joined the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, the branch in which they had served during the previous war. As drivers, they helped deliver ammunition, rations and other supplies to the U.N. troops in the Far East. Another veteran of the Second World War who went to Korea was Tommy Prince.

In the same way, Métis communities and families continued to send or take the younger community members into town to enlist, and seeking for themselves to re-enlist. Even though the Métis nations had received some aid, and the Métis Setttlements had been set up, still the vast majority of Métis scraped a marginal living in unorganized poverty and many of the young men were glad to have an opportunity to enlist in the Special Force.

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