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Correspondence regarding First Nations veterans returning after the First World War

Information about soldiers in First World War Canadian Expeditionary Force service files usually ends at the end of the war. In the case of hundreds of First Nations veterans, the federal government recorded additional personal information. The records in this Co-Lab challenge were created after the war by the Department of Indian Affairs (now known as Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs) and document the federal government’s tracking of First Nation soldiers’ lives after they returned to their homes and communities. These records are unlike other military records held at Library and Archives Canada in that they contain detailed personal information, comments on the returning soldiers and their families, as well as administrative information such as regimental numbers. These files also contain photos of a few soldiers and information about First Nations women’s groups that supported the war effort.

Created in 1918 and 1919, these unique documents illustrate some of First Nations experiences during the war, and how their communities coped during their absence.

The Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collection contains historical language and content that some may consider offensive. This includes language used to refer to racial, ethnic and cultural groups. Items in the collection, their content and their descriptions reflect the time period when they were created and the views of their creators.

The items retain their original descriptions to ensure that these attitudes and viewpoints are not erased from the historical record. LAC provides additional descriptive information to give background on the records. This is an ongoing process.