Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the 'Indian' and the Second World War

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the 'Indian' and the Second World War

Article excerpt

R. Scott Sheffield, The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the 'Indian' and the Second World War (Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, 2004), ix + 232pp. Cloth. $85 (£56.50). ISBN 0-7748-1094-7. Paper. $29.95 (£19.95). ISBN 0-7748-1095-5.

In this book Sheffield suggests that the Canadian Indian Affairs Branch (IAB) adopted the same kind of policies as the pre-Collier American Bureau of Indian Affairs. The IAB sought to eradicate what were seen as the 'backward' cultures of the First Nations and to assimilate them into anglophone and francophone Canadian society. Canadian newspapers tended to either to portray Natives through the patronising prism of the Hollywood Western movie or in crime reports as drunken criminals and murderers.

During the Second World War, Natives were portrayed with greater respect by the Canadian media in acknowledgement of their patriotic contribution to the national war effort. A considerable number of young Native men served in the armed forces. Enlistment and military service were viewed by the IAB as highly beneficial to the process of assimilation. However, many Natives opposed conscription because they felt it violated their position as wards of the state and, in some cases, Canadian government treaty obligations. …

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