The First Nations people in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have served
Canada with distinction and courage since the earliest days. Their traditional
way of life—especially the scouting, hunting, and shooting skills that they
learn in the wilderness—equip them to become skilled soldiers.
During the GreatWar of 1914–1918, Sergeant Francis Pegahmagabow, MM,
an Ojibway infantry soldier from Ontario, served as an expert sniper and scout.
He became Canada’s most highly decorated First Nations soldier and, for his
bravery, he earned the Military Medal with two bars.
After World War II, during the 1950s and ’60s, the James Bay Rangers
formed in communities along James Bay. These satellite groups of the Canadian
Army patrolled the radar stations and surrounding areas in Northern Ontario.
They reported anything unusual to the Canadian Army.
Today, the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3 CRPG) in Ontario
maintains this tradition of military service. This group, a specialized reserve
component of the CAF, conducts search-and-rescue operations and keeps
communities safe in the most rugged areas of Northern Ontario.
These Canadian Rangers are part-time reservists. They provide a military
presence that is respected, admired, and necessary. Their traditional aboriginal
knowledge, especially their survival skills, is an asset to our CAF. When largescale military exercises are held in Northern Ontario, the Canadian Rangers
train regular and reserve soldiers.
The 3 CRPG is one of five Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups in Canada. Each
group patrols a specified area set out by the CAF, and the Canadian Army, a
branch of the CAF, manages them. In the 3 CRPG, 98.4% of the members
come from First Nations.
The members of the 3 CRPG also teach wilderness survival and military skills
to young people aged 12 to 18 in the Junior Canadian Rangers. The Canadian
Rangers provide exceptional role models for these young people and other members of their communities.
SergeantFrancis Pegahmagabow, MM