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New Saskatoon memorial planned for Indigenous fallen soldiers

Legion Branch No. 63 dedicating a special wall.

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

This year, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 63 on Spadina Avenue in Saskatoon are dedicating a wall in their building to honour Saskatchewan’s fallen Indigenous soldiers. 

“I think the story of these soldiers has been under-told,” said Mike Dalton, Researcher at the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation. 

“They deserve recognition for what they went through.”

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

The process of finding information and photographs for each soldier is slow, said Dalton. They have a list of about 100 Indigenous Saskatchewan soldiers that they would eventually like to 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 they sacrificed their future. So, we try, whenever possible, to outline their childhood and life before the war, so we can see what their future could have been,” said Dalton.

The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation has a similar memorial on display at the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum, with about 150 memorials from airmen and women who died during the Second World War.

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

“Life wasn’t easy for a lot of these soldiers from the prairies, because of the Depression and the Dust Bowl. Sometimes when we research soldiers, we find that we can put them in five different towns, because they had to move around. Life was hard, for Indigenous soldiers even more so,” said Dalton.

“By grouping (these Indigenous soldiers) together this way it’ll make people understand that despite being treated so unfairly, when called upon they were loyal comrades and fought side by side.”

One of the soldiers that Dalton most regularly highlights is Alexander Decoteau, from Red Pheasant First Nation, who died in 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele during the First World War. But before serving in the war, Decoteau accomplished a great deal in his short life – competing in the Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912 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 memorialized in Saskatoon. 

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

The Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation is without photos of the following soldiers. Please contact their Saskatoon branch with any information about photos of these soldiers:

Adams, Clarence
Anderson, Patrick Louie
Baldhead, James Luke
Bangs, John
Baptiste, Edgar Herbert
Bear, Thomas
Belanger, John George
Bell, Roy Munroe
Bellegarde, Maurice
Big-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, William
Deegan, James
Desnomie, Joseph Noel
Dreaver, Frank Nickle
Eyahpaise, Edward Stanley
Flamend, John
Flamond, Joseph
Fleury, Clement
Gerard, John
Grey (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 Joseph
Pratt, Kenneth Wilfred
Ross, Victor
Sabiston, William Wallace George
Sanderson, William Charles
Settee, 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