After the war ended Joseph returned to his family and home community, the Golden Lake Indian Reserve. From my family oral history I have learned that shortly after, in the 1920s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police escorted him and his family out of their community, because his Indigenous identity was borne by his mother’s ancestral line rather than his father’s.
His wife Annie Jane’s indigeneity was irrelevant because women, according to British law, were mere appendages of their fathers and husbands. Apparently this practice was commonly imposed on Indigenous veterans and their families. When they came home from serving as the British Crown’s loyal allies, some lost all their treaty rights as Indigenous people.
While the Algonquin Anishinaabeg are the traditional Indigenous landholders of the Ottawa River Valley, through colonial policies and laws many of us were, and remain, denied the right to pass on to our families our national identity and our rights as Indigenous people — such as the right to own land and resources and, via this, the right to live a good life (mino-pimadiziwin).
Rather, as historian J.R. Miller has shown in Sweet Promises: A Reader on Indian-White Relations in Canada and Lethal Legacy: Current Native Controversies in Canada, and historian J.L. Milloy has shown in his essay “The Early Indian Acts: Development Strategy and Constitutional Change,” we were stripped of our national identity, and many others were relegated to living in reserve communities until we could prove we met the British criteria of what it meant to be civilized.
The reason for this, explains R.A. Williams in Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization, was that British Canada did not view the Algonquin as real people but rather as pre-human beings without legitimate identity, culture, or governance traditions, whereby we consequently also lacked a valid holding on the land.