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Sergeant Tommy Prince, Indigenous War Hero, Deserves To Be New Face Of Canada’s $5 Bill: MPs

Sergeant Tommy Prince, Indigenous War Hero, Deserves To Be New Face Of Canada’s $5 Bill: MPs
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Canadas most decorated Indigenous war veteran, Sgt. Tommy Prince, deserves to be the face of the new $5 bill, say Manitobas Conservative MPs.

Princes life exemplifies both incredible sacrifice and bravery and the persistent racism faced by Indigenous people in Canada, said Sen. Donald Plett and eight MPs, including Conservative House leader Candice Bergen and National Defence critic James Bezan, in a letter sent to the Minister of Finance last week.

Prince earned 11 medals in the Second World War and the Korean War, and was one of three Canadians to receive both the American Silver Star and the Military Medal, presented by King George VI at Buckingham Palace in 1945.

However, when Prince returned to his home province of Manitoba, he endured discrimination, poverty and illness and died while living in a Winnipeg shelter at the age of 62.

Sergeant Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation is Canada s most decorated Indigenous veteran serving in both WWII and the Korean War. pic.twitter.com/x9hANVbIoe

Honouring him on the bill would be a statement in support of reconciliation, said the letter.

It is the responsibility of every Canadian to understand the injustices of the past and to resolve their spirit to ensure they are remedied in order to establish a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The Bank of Canada is in the for the $5 note, which currently features former prime minister Wilfred Laurier. Close to 45,000 people submitted suggestions and the banks advisory council is reviewing more than 600 historical candidates for a short list. It expects the new bills to begin circulating in a few years.

The bank followed a similar process when it chose human rights icon Viola Desmond for the $10 bill in 2016.

and lived on the Brokenhead Reserve of the Ojibway Nation in Manitoba. At the age of five, Prince was forced to attend Elkhorn Residential School.

During the Second World War, Prince served in the elite Devils Brigade , scouting deep behind German lines to collect critical intelligence.

Dressed like a farmer, Prince wielded a hoe, and pretended to weed his crops in full view of German soldiers until he located the damaged line and repaired it. He continued reporting on the location of German artillery, and all four positions were destroyed.

Sergeant Princes courage and utter disregard for personal safety were an inspiration to his fellows and marked credit to his unit, said a citation for a medal he later received.

Later that year, Prince was scouting in southern France when he located German gun sites and an encampment. He hiked 70 kilometres through mountainous terrain to share the information. He led his brigade back, and joined the ensuing battle that successfully pushed the enemy out of the area.

When Prince returned to Canada, he became a spokesperson for the Manitoba Indian Association, advocating for the abolition of the Indian Act and for better schools and living conditions as well as expanded hunting, trapping and fishing rights.

Indigenous Canadians, like Sergeant Prince, came back from war with the self-confidence and desire to speak for themselves and make change, said the letter sent by Conservative MPs. They were prepared to reconcile with Canada and move forward on the path of reconciliation, but Canada was not.

The vast majority of Indigenous people, including more than 15,000 Indigenous soldiers who fought in the Second World War and Korean War, werent allowed to vote until 1960 . They were also denied the veteran benefits received by their white counterparts, including land, grants and vocational training.

in Winnipeg, likely suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his years of service. His five children were placed in foster care. He died in 1977 while staying in a small room at the Salvation Armys shelter.

Prince has been commemorated in murals, statues and plaques , and the Sergeant Tommy Prince School in Manitoba. Streets are also named after him in Winnipeg and Calgary.
Read more on The Huffington Post
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