National Indigenous Peoples Day

May be an image of text that says 'The Port Moody Heritage Society would like to offer our sincere sympathies to the Indigenous communities across Canada who are grappling with the heartache and trauma of the recent news of the mass graves being discovered at residential schools. We would like to extend our condolences during this challenging time and offer our full support in working toward reconciliation. During this National Indigenous Peoples Day we are reminded to honour the first peoples of this land and their stewardship over the lands we share.'

The Port Moody Heritage Society was honoured to be invited to say thank you to the original caretakers of these lands in this wonderful video

We are grateful for your continued guardianship of these lands, and your generously shared knowledge. We have much to learn and unlearn and are thankful to live and work here.

Please look below to learn about Indigenous participation in the Great War.

In 1914 two-thirds of the Canadian Expeditionary Force may have been British born, but there were also Indigenous Canadians, Japanese Canadians, French-speakers from Quebec and Black Canadians among the fighting men.

Most likely the first Indigenous solider killed in the Great War was Angus Laforce, from Kahnawake, Quebec. He was killed on April 2, 1915, sadly his body was never recovered. Lieutenant Cameron D. Brand, from the Six Nations people from Grand River was killed during the counter attack at Ypres. In the beginning of the war racist attitudes prevented active recruitment of Indigenous people. But despite such obstacles men like Lt. Brand and Laforce found their way into the military.

When World War One started it was not just a European war but a world war. It is estimated that around 4 million non-white men were mobilized in both combat and non-combat roles.

Racialized attitudes gave colonialists and settlers a sense of entitlement to rule their colonial possessions and to involve some subjects in the war.

Resistance to the recruiting of non-white soldiers was based on similar racialized notions. Administrators feared that weapons and training might endanger the white rule status quo. Contrary to such fears there was no uprising in the colonies or Canada.

In fact many Indigenous and other non-white soldiers hoped that their participation in the war would lead to greater recognition and bring about a greater equality. Unfortunately this hope remained a dream. Individual recognition was achieved, when soldiers earned medals, however systematic racism blocked any true change.

The museum has compiled a short video about Indigenous participation in the Great War.

The video features the museum’s trench display and historical facts and images.

The music: Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, which would have been a popular piece during the Great War.

The video ends with a short morse code message – not a historic message but a simple tribute to the sniper Francis Pegahmagabow. The simple words “over there” in Ojibwe “iwidi”

Inline Image: Lt. James David Moses, was a Delaware from the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. Moses served with the 107th in France for several months before being seconded in 1917 to the 57th Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps as an aerial observer and gunner. On April 1, 1918, he and his pilot, South African Douglas Trollip, climbed into their DH 4 bomber and flew off on a mission against the Germans and never returned.


Follow this link to a new interactive map published by the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. The map will help you to familiarize yourself with Indigenous in B.C.