Sergeant Tommy Prince

 

Sergeant Prince, an Indigenous war veteran, was recently honoured by Canada Post with his image on a newly released stamp. Born on St. Peter’s reserve in Manitoba, part of the Brokenhead OjibwayNation, he took part in World War ll as well as the Korean War, Among the eleven medals he was awarded,  they include the Military Medal (MM) and the Silver Star.  And in 2019, he was named a National Historic Person of Canada. The Canadian Forces Base in Petawawa, Ontario, where he trained was renamed The Tommy Prince Barracks, as were schools, streets etc. After the war, he was the VP of the  Manitoba Indian Association and was a well-known Anishinaabe activist.

Shamefully,  when Tommy returned to Canada, despite his heroism and sacrifice, he faced injustice and discrimination. As a member of the First Nations, he did not qualify for the usual Canadian Armed Forces Veteran benefits, receiving only a small supplement. Like many other veterans, he also had a hard time returning to civilian life and suffered what we would today call  PTSD, having nightmares and flashbacks of war  He died at age sixty-two, Canada’s most decorated First Nation Soldier.

Honouring an Indigenous War Hero of the Past-

 

A number of years ago, I did a series of blogs on stamps honouring various people we often forget or never did know, let alone their achievements. However, in this case, stamp collector enthusiasts will probably be the exception.

I found it an interesting, worthwhile exercise learning about these people that we may ordinarily give little notice of as we mail our letters and packages.  However, it seems especially appropriate that during this time of Truth and Conciliation, we should honour an Indigenous war hero, Sgt. Tommy Prince, by choosing his image to be on the newest stamp which will be available on Oct. 28. I learned of this recently on the news and thought it was worth sharing.

Other recent stamps of interest to me from 2022 include the March edition- Heroes of the COVID Pandemic, as it relates to my book Grounded which is a story about polio. Also, the May edition -Unsung Heroes: Women of World War ll, also speaks to women working in areas, not often considered for women as in the case of women working in scientific research during the search for a polio vaccine.

Watch for these and other topics in upcoming blogs.

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