New Saskatchewan Book Commemorates Indigenous Soldiers
On Sunday, June 21, 2020, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, author Janet Love Morrison launched The Hawk and the Hare.
The book is a fictionalized account of the friendship between her father, raised on a Saskatchewan farm, and an Indigenous soldier. Both men served as infantry scouts during the Second World War and saw action during the Battle of Caen, the march across Normandy and the Battle of the Scheldt.
All of the incidents described are drawn from official historical records, contemporary accounts and the experience of the author’s father. Chief Warrant Officer Joel Pedersen, Regimental Sergeant Major of the 38 Canadian Brigade Group Battle School, and one of only two First Nation CWOs in combat arms, provided valuable technical and cultural insights. The author, who teaches English on the Cote First Nation Reserve, travelled from Newhaven, UK, to Aurich, Germany, for her research and met with both historians and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In addition to readings, photos and a Q&A session, the launch included remarks from Jonas Cote, principal of Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex, CWO Pedersen, Colonel Gwen Bourque, the army’s highest-ranking officer in Saskatchewan, and Grand Chief Steven Ross, President of the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association.
“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the friendships between ordinary soldiers of such diverse backgrounds,” said Morrison. “My father always maintained that the additional skills he learned from his Indigenous friend helped keep him alive when so many others died.”