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“Of Pure European Descent and of the White Race”: Recruitment Policy and Aboriginal Canadians, 1939–1945
According to the records of the Indian Affairs Branch, just over 3,000 Status Indians voluntarily enlisted in the military forces of Canada during the Second World War. Of these, 213 were killed. These and an unknown number of other non-status Indian, Métis and Inuit men served in all three military branches, and in every theatre where Canadian ground, sea and air forces fought. However, virtually nothing is known of the military service performed by Canada’s Native population. In part, this reflects of the paucity of records available on Native soldiers. Personnel files did not include any mention of ethnicity and thus it will never be known exactly how many Aboriginal men served. The figures of the Indian Affairs Branch are suspect, only partial, and do not account for Métis, Non-Status Indians, or Inuit; nor do they include those conscripted under the National Resources Mobilization Act for service in Canada. Historians have tended to focus either on the operational side of the conflict, or on the political, social and economic upheaval of the home front. The recruitment and military service of the Aboriginal population fits somewhere in between, and has been nearly forgotten.
Sheffield, R. Scott "“Of Pure European Descent and of the White Race”: Recruitment Policy and Aboriginal Canadians, 1939–1945." Canadian Military History 5, 1 (1996)