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The Warriors Of Peepeekisis

Oliver Brass

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SEPTEMBER 1972      v03 n09 p14  
Ed Bellegarde
Ed Bellegarde -
Survivor of a
German machine-gun.

If the children of Peepeekisis took it for granted that the passing of the older male members of their Band was always marked by the crack of rifles and the lonely notes of a bugle, it would not be surprising. On this particular Reserve the military funeral is commonplace because this Reserve is the home of warriors.

It is probable that no other Indian Reserve in Canada, or White community for that matter, of comparable size has produced such a great number of fighting men who were willing to give all for King and Country. To the fields of battle in three major conflicts Peepeekisis has sent a total of at least seventy warriors.

Indeed it would seem that this Reserve of brave hearts took the position that the outcome of a Canadian war depended on the skill and sacrifice of Indians.

While one may argue endlessly as to the morality and usefulness of war, the fact still remains that many Indians, not only of Peepeekisis, paid a high price in the defence of Canada.

From Peepeekisis alone, twelve still bear the scars of hostile bullets and eight more never came home again. This is a sacrifice not to be taken lightly and is also a testament to the fact that Indians take the Treaties seriously. Some people accuse Indians of asking too much, but here is proof that they can also give generously when the chips are down.

Below, with great respect, are listed the names of the warriors of Peepeekisis. For many it is the first time they have made it into a newspaper, yet it cannot begin to repay the honour they deserve.

W.W.I.-1914 - 18

David Bird - wounded; Joe Mackay - wounded; Ed Sanderson - wounded; Alec Brass - wounded; Ed Nokusis - wounded; Elijah Dixon - killed; Tom Anderson - wounded; Leonard Creely - wounded; Philip Jackson - killed; Ernest Goforth; Alec Desnomie; Frank Gordon.

W.W.II-1939 - 45

Donald Thomas - killed; Noel Desnomie - killed; Morris Keewatin - killed; Albert MacLeod - killed; John Dumont - killed; Maurice Bellegarde - killed; Charlie Bird - wounded; Ed Bellegarde - wounded; Bill Stonechild - wounded; Noel Pinay, Jr. - wounded; Bob Dieter - wounded; Peter Desnomie; J. B. Desnomie, Sr.; Francis Desnomie; George Desnomie; Norman Keewatin; Gordon Keewatin; Reg Keewatin; Ted Keewatin; Victor MacKay; Alec MacKay; David Bird - W. W. I and II; Bob Bird; Gerald Bird; Edith Bird; Vincent Bellegarde; Margaret Stonechild; Jim Stonechild; Ed Pinay; Prisque Pinay; Wilfred Dieter; Bill McNabb; Joe McNabb; Peter Thomas; Walter Dieter; Campbell Swanson; Bill Ward; Gilbert MacLeod; George Brass; Gladys MacLeod; Ed Sanderson - W.W. I and II.

Casualty Rate - W.W. I and II - 39 per cent.

Korean War - 1950 - 53

Ken MacLeod; Dan Dumont; Les Sanderson; Ronald Brass; Mark Ward; Gilbert Daniels; Victor Daniels; George Bird; Gerald Bird; Bob Bird; Richard Desnomie; Eric Pinay; Hereby Pinay; Franky Desnomie; Wilfred Dieter.

Peacetime Service

Lawrence Dieter, Keith Dieter, Albert Swanson, Bobby Desnomie

Soon the nations of the world will once again remember their fallen soldiers and a minute's silence will be observed in many places. Soon the snow will begin to drift down again upon many a soldiers lonely grave. Some of those graves will be Indian warrior graves - warriors of Peepeekisis who lie in foreign places. It is appropriate that we lift our hats and be silent a moment in memory of the warriors of Peepeekisis, and the memory of all the Indian warriors of Canada.

Tombstone of Alex Brass
Alex Brass - Military Medal for the single-handed capture of sixty German soldiers.
David Bird
David Bird - Wounded and gassed survivor of two World Wars.
Tombstone of James Stonechild
James Stonechild -Airman of Peepeekisis.
In Memory: Philip Jackson, Donald Thomas, John Dumont, Noel Desnomie, Maurice Nokusis, Maurice Bellegarde, Albert McLeod