Veterns Memorial Park Indigenous Military Service

Thousands of Indigenous men and women have served in the Canadian Military, including all of the conflicts presented on Medicine Hat’s Cenotaph.

During the First and Second World War, recruits were not asked their racial and cultural origin, but we know through local families that many men of Metis background volunteered for service during the First World War, and men and women of Indigenous decent volunteered during the Second World War.

In some cases many members of the same family went overseas to serve, sacrificing much. Four Bliss brothers; Pat, Joe, Bill and Tassie, served in the trenches of the First World War. Tassie was injured, having his forearm amputated, and Bill Bliss struggled in his return to civilian life.

Bill Bliss (pictured above) signed up in 1915 at the age of 19 with the 3rd CMR. Bill was wounded at Ypres in 1916 by shell in the trenches. He contracted influenza in 1917, was discharged in 1919 at the age of 23.

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