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New Saskatoon memorial planned for fallen Indigenous soldiers

New Saskatoon memorial planned for fallen Indigenous soldiers
New Saskatoon memorial planned for fallen Indigenous soldiers

Legion Division No. 63 inaugurates a special wall.

SASKATOON — Saskatchewan has a rich history of Indigenous soldiers serving their country and giving their lives. Unfortunately, history has shown that many of those soldiers go unnoticed. The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation is working to change that.

This year, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 63 on Spadina Avenue in Saskatoon has dedicated a wall in their building to the fallen indigenous soldiers of Saskatchewan.

“I think the story of these soldiers is undertold,” said Mike Dalton, a researcher with the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation.

“They deserve recognition for what they have been through.”

The exhibition will feature individual memorials for each soldier, printed on metal art panels, with a photograph and biography.

The process of finding information and photos for each soldier is slow, Dalton said. They have a list of about 100 Indigenous Saskatchewan soldiers they want to eventually include on the memorial. The short-term goal is to have 20 ready by this year’s Remembrance Day.

“Most of these soldiers were young and sacrificed their future, so we try, whenever possible, to portray their youth and lives before the war, so we can see what their future might have been like,” Dalton said.

The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation has a similar memorial at the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum, which features approximately 150 memorials to airmen who died during World War II.

With a list of approximately 10,000 names of fallen Saskatchewan soldiers, there is no shortage of soldiers to honour.

“Life was not easy for many of these soldiers from the prairies, because of the depression and the Dust Bowl. Sometimes when we research soldiers, we find that we can place them in five different cities because they had to move. Life was hard, even harder for native soldiers,” Dalton said.

“By grouping (these indigenous soldiers) in this way, people will understand that despite being treated so unfairly, they were loyal comrades and fought side by side when called upon.”

One of the soldiers Dalton most often spotlights is Alexander Decoteau, of the Red Pheasant First Nation, who died in 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I. But before serving in the war, Decoteau accomplished much in his short life – he competed in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden for long-distance running. He was also the first Indigenous police officer in Canada and the first motorcycle police officer in Canada.

Decoteau is one of the fallen soldiers who will be remembered in Saskatoon.

“(It’s incredible) what he accomplished. When I send out memorial information, I like to include it because of what Decoteau was able to accomplish in his short life.”

The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation does not have photos of the following soldiers. Contact their Saskatoon branch for information on photos of these soldiers:

Adams, Clarence
Anderson, Patrick Louie
Baldhead, James Luke
Bang, John
Baptiste, Edgar Herbert
Beer, Thomas
Belanger, John George
Call, Roy Munroe
Bellegarde, Maurice
Great Man, (Misteyenew) Alexander
Bird, Charles (Charlie)
Bird, Thomas Vivian
Bloomfield, Frederick
Boyer, Harry (Hormidas)
Bryant, William John
Cameron, James
Cromartie, Peter Andrew
Crow, (Crowe) Joseph
Daniels, Charles
Daniels, Willem
Deegan, James
Desnomy, Joseph Noel
Dreaver, Frank Nickle
Eyahpaise, Edward Stanley
Flaming, John
Flamond, Joseph
Fleury, Clement
Gerard, John
Gray (Gray), Malcolm
Halcrow, Sam (aka Samuel Halcro)
Hodgson, Arthur
Irvine, Charles Frederick
Irvine, Stanley Charles
Kakaway, Albert
Keewatin, Maurice William
Ladret, Bruno
Landry, Stanley Joseph
Marion, Ambroise Louis
Masaskepew, Charles
McKay, Colin Inkster
McKay, Samuel
McLeod, Albert Alexander
McNabb, David
Nahbexie, Austin Joseph
Nelson, Edward John
Noskeyi, Benjamin Jozef
Pratt, Kenneth Wilfred
Ross, Victor
Sabiston, William Wallace George
Sanderson, William Charles
Bank, Alexander
Standing Buffalo, Joseph Arthur
Sutherland, Malcolm Arnold S.
Taylor, James Curtis
Thomas, Donald
Walker, Norman Stanley
White, Louis
Whitford, Alfred Thomas
Whitford, David
Whitford, Wilfred