To recognize Aboriginal Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, Wabaseemoong Leadership, in consultation with the family, have created a memorial plaque for Thomas Land Senior. The sign will be in place the week of November 9th, 2020 to honour Thomas and First Nations Veteran’s contributions and sacrifices during war time. The Thomas Land Sr. Arena will also have new exterior and interior signs installed.

A Local World War II Hero

The Thomas Land Sr. Arena was named and dedicated in memory of Private Thomas Land Sr.

Wabaseemoong Independent Nations acknowledges Thomas for his valued devotion to ensuring our freedoms. his bravery and courage are a testament of the guiding principles of the Anishinaabe people, culture and spirit of our ancestors. Private Land’s selfless acts continue to inspire our young people to make worthy contributions to our families, communities and Nations.

Thomas Land Sr. was born and raised in the village of Whitedog, in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations.

As World War II began, Thomas was willing to risk sacrificing his life for the ideals of freedom and democracy, and joined the Canadian Armed Forces. He became a private of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, and was sent overseas to be stationed in northwestern Europe and the north Atlantic in 1940.

He served until the war was over in 1945, and chose to help with the task of rebuilding Europe after the end of WWII. He spent those years with his first two children and their German mother, Edel. During this time he travelled and was positioned throughout England, Scotland, Italy and France.

Thomas returned to Wabaseemoong in 1948, and soon met and married Leah. They raised 10 children together.

Despite the hardships that many Indigenous people faced from the Canadian government, many defied the odds to prove time and again their pride serving Canada and representing their Nations in times of war. During WWII, hundreds of Aboriginal people voluntarily enlisted, and more than 500 status Indian individuals lost their lives on the battlefields.

These exemplary First Nation’s warriors fought side-by-side with other Canadian soldiers, and shared in the equality and camaraderie that tragedy and victory provided. Many were especially proud to play a part in freeing captive people, and after the war, brought home a renewed desire for the same self-sovereignty that they had just fought to achieve for others.

These heroes also inspired Indigenous people who remained in Canada during the war. Nearer to home, many made sacrifices and significant contributions – First Nations were especially generous in donating money to the war effort, raised funds through auctions, raffles and special events, and gave clothing and other items to be sent overseas to soldiers. These great efforts, at war and at home, reminded all Indigenous Canadians of our traditions of sacrifice, loyalty and freedom.

To Thomas and all of those Indigenous Canadian soldiers, we say, miigwech.