Parry Sound, Ontario —A bronze statue honouring the legacy of Company Sergeant-Major Francis Pegahmagabow will be unveiled in Parry Sound, Ontario on June 21, 2016 – National Aboriginal Day.
CSM Pegahmagabow is the most highly-decorated Aboriginal soldier of the First World War.
“Francis’ life stands as an excellent example of courage and tenacity that we shall always remember,” said Dr. Brian McInnes, great-grandson of CSM Pegahmagabow.
One hundred years ago this year, CSM Pegahmagabow departed for the frontlines as a member of 1st Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, where he served in the battles of Ypres, the Somme and Passchendaele. He was an expert sniper, scout and messenger and is one of only 38 Canadians awarded the Military Medal with two bars for acts of bravery.
After the war, CSM Pegahmagabow continued his service in the 23rd Regiment of the Northern Pioneers (amalgamated into the Algonquin Regiment in 1936).
Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander of the Canadian Army and Defence Team Champion for Aboriginal Peoples, will attend the unveiling in the company of a 50-soldier honour guard and colour party comprised of members of the Royal Canadian and Algonquin Regiments.
The monument, by Sudbury, Ontario artist Tyler Fauvelle, will stand at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts in Parry Sound, overlooking CSM Pegahmagabow’s birthplace at Wasauksing First Nation on Parry Island. The Ontario Native Education Counselling Association (ONECA), a registered charity based in Naughton, Ontario, commissioned the work.
“Recognizing and honouring stories of powerful role models such as Francis Pegahmagabow helps us celebrate and better understand our collective history and the role that Aboriginal Peoples played in shaping the Canada we know today,” said Roger Chum, President of ONECA.
The statue stands approximately three metres tall and depicts CSM Pegahmagabow in his Canadian Expeditionary Force uniform, with an eagle and a caribou, representing his clan, at his side.
By Natalie Flynn, Army Public Affairs