Generations of warriors have been putting their lives on the line to defend their First Nations and Canada for years. And on November 11, the Anishinabek community will pay tribute to these warriors on Remembrance Day.
“Going back to great leaders like Pontiac, the Anishinabek can point to a proud heritage of warriors who protected our citizens from their enemies,” said Glen Hare, Deputy Grand Chief of the Anishinabek Nation. “The last traditional chief at Alderville – John Shawundais (Sunday) – was one of many warriors who joined Tecumseh’s confederacy to help the British successfully fend off American invaders in the War of 1812. In World War I, Francis Pegahmagabow of Wasauksing won the Military Medal three times for battlefield heroism – no other enlisted Canadian soldier has ever done that.”
All 39-member communities of the Anishinabek Nation are able to name citizens who honored the 1764 Treaty of Niagara and fought for the Crown in international conflicts that Canada was involved in according to Hare.
“The list goes on – Clifford George from Stoney Point and Daisia Nebenionquit from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek served with distinction in World War II. Right now Anishinabek are defending their homelands in Canadian uniforms around the world.
“We also remember those left behind. Beatrice Faubert Whiteduck of Nipissing First Nation is a perennial Silver Cross Mother. At the age of 31 she was left widowed to raise nine children when her husband Lawrence was killed in action August 8, 1944 in France.
“There are many others we could name from all across Anishinabek territory.”
Hare felt it was only appropriate to remember these brave men and women this year, marking the first anniversary of Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“We call on Canada to respect our rights and to live up to the promises made to us by the Crown at Niagara in 1764. We were told we would be treated on a nation-to-nation basis, that our lands would be inviolable, and that we would never be poor.
“We are still waiting for Canada to keep its word,” he said.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians, a political advocate for the 39 members representing about 55,000 people, as its secretariat in 1949. It is the oldest political organization in Ontario and traces its roots to the Confederacy of the Three Fires—well before European contact.