Jonathan L.

Southwold, Ontario

Thames Valley Regional Fair

Indigenous People in WW1

My project looks at the contributions of Indigenous warriors in World War I. The project was inspired by my great grandfather Manson (Kayʌtahkehluˀ) who was an engineer in World War II. I was curious to learn about my families participation in World War I. I did not find any family connections but learned about many soldiers from my home community, Oneida Nation of the Thames. I expanded my research to include soldiers with significant contributions from other First Nations in Ontario.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing that I learned was that the first Indigenous soldier to die in the line of duty was a man named Arnold Logan. He was from the Munsee-Delaware Nation which is very close to my community. He was acknowledged and remembered fondly the by 25th Regiment of the Locomotive Fire Department because he was a member of their union.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I learned that Indigenous people enlisted in the army because they wanted to fight for their country and they wanted to be treated as an equal. In the army they were equal but once the war was over and they were discharged, Indigenous people were treated unfairly just like before the war.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Today I live in freedom in Oneida Nation of the Thames. The soldiers who fought in WW1 are role models for me. They stood up to discrimination and fought along side those who treated them terribly. Today I still have to stand up to discrimination and work hard to teach other people that Indigenous people like me are just like them and deserve respect.