Skip to content Skip to navigation Skip to search

Provincial plaques commemorate Chief Francis Pegahmagabow, 1889-1952


June 20, 2015
For immediate release

PARRY ISLAND – Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and Wasauksing First Nation unveiled provincial plaques to commemorate First World War hero and First Nations leader Chief Francis Pegahmagabow.


Francis Pegahmagabow, photographed in June 1945 while in Ottawa. Canadian Museum of History, 95293.


The unveiling took place at Wasauksing Aboriginal Community Centre in Parry Island, Ontario.

The plaques are provided in English, French and Ojibwe. The English plaque reads as follows:

Chief Francis Pegahmagabow, 1889-1952

Francis Pegahmagabow, an Ojibwe of the Caribou clan, was born in Shawanaga First Nation. He volunteered at the onset of the First World War and served overseas as a scout and sniper with the Canadian Expeditionary Force’s 1st Battalion. He was one of 39 Canadian soldiers awarded the Military Medal and two bars for bravery. He is Canada’s most decorated Indigenous soldier. After the war, Pegahmagabow settled on Wasauksing First Nation, where he married and raised his family. He was elected Chief and served from 1921 to 1925 and from 1942 to 1945, and as a Councillor from 1933 to 1936. In 1943, he demonstrated peacefully in Ottawa for Aboriginal rights and self-government. That same year, Pegahmagabow and other Native leaders founded the Brotherhood of Canadian Indians, the first national Aboriginal organization. In 1949 and 1950 he was elected the supreme Chief of the National Indian Government. A leading advocate for First Nations rights, Francis Pegahmagabow provided distinguished service to his homeland and honour to the Nishnaabe Nation.

The historical address was given by Dr. Brian “Waabishki-Makwa” McInnes, great-grandson of Francis Pegahmagabow. Charles “Maajiijiwan” Petahtegoose, great-great grandson to Francis Pegahmagabow, read the plaque text in the Ojibwe language and CBC journalist Reg Sherren read the English plaque text. Scupltor Tyler Fauvelle spoke about his life-size bronze sculpture commemorating Francis Pegahmagabow and a performance was given by Wasauking Frist Nation School Little Spirit Singers, a girl’s hand drum group.

Quotes

“It is an honour for the Trust to commemorate Chief Francis Pegahmagabow, a man who dedicated his life to serving his country and his community. His efforts as a soldier in the First World War did not go unnoticed at the time, and the Trust is pleased to build on his legacy as an Aboriginal leader, soldier and Canadian hero.” – Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman, Ontario Heritage Trust

“Francis Pegahmagabow’s lasting legacy of service is a great example for all Canadians. These provincial plaques will help all of us remember the courage he showed in the First World War as a scout and sniper, and his perseverance in fighting for First Nations rights.” – The Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Quick facts

  • The plaques will be permanently displayed at Wasauksing Aboriginal Community Centre.
  • The Ontario Heritage Trust’s Provincial Plaque Program commemorates provincially significant people, places and events in Ontario’s history.
  • Since 1956, over 1,250 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

Learn more

Find out more about the Ontario Heritage Trust and explore the Provincial Plaque Program ...

Contacts

For more information about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Provincial Plaque Program, contact Rose Windy Manigat at 416-325-5032 or rose.manigat@heritagetrust.on.ca.

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario’s heritage.

- 30 -

This is learning ... old-school

This is learning ... old-school

Visit the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse and see how education happened in an 1848 one-room schoolhouse in downtown Toronto
See what’s in our collections

See what’s in our collections

Explore the collection at Fulford Place