Former Parry Island Chief to be recognized for his bravery as a Canadian soldier in international campaign
A decorated First Nations Canadian soldier who grew up near Parry Sound is part of a new international campaign.
VISITFLANDERS is recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele coming in 2017 and it is featuring Sergeant Major Francis Pegahmagabow of 1st Battalion C.E.F. as part of this campaign.
His great granddaughter Julia Pegahmagabow says he not only played an important role in this war, but in bringing together Indigenous Canadians.
Pegahmagabow was recognized for his bravery by becoming one of just 38 Canadians to hold the Military Medal with two bars. He is also the most decorated Indigenous soldier in Canadian history.
He received a Military Medal in 1916, for his bravery in carrying messages under heavy shellfire in Ypres, Festubert and Givenchy.
Pegahmagabow was awarded two bars; first for maintaining contact with an exposed flank on November 4th, 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele, and second in August, 1918 after the Battle of Scarpe in France.
Pegahmagabow grew up with relatives on the Shawanaga First Nation after his parents died. He became a Canadian soldier during a time when Indigenous Canadians were often discouraged from joining the army.
Following his time spent in the army, he became the Chief of the Parry Island Band. He spent the rest of his life advocating for equal rights for Indigenous Canadians.
Pegahmagabow’s great granddaughter says he would be humbled to see how his name has become part of Canadian history both in the war and in the lives of Indigenous Canadians.
She says being a part of his legacy as a decorated soldier and a leader is something she and the rest of her family are very proud of.
You can watch the video campaign spotlighting Sergeant Major Pegahmagabow below.