Chief Francis Pegahmagabow, 1889-1952 - Ontario Heritage Trust

Chief Francis Pegahmagabow, 1889-1952, Wasauksing First Nation

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.