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W.A. Day students learn of Mountain Horse warrior brothers

W.A. Day school students learned Wednesday about the contributions of Indigenous soldiers.

National Indigenous Veterans Day, Nov. 8, was marked by a presentation to students.

Students were told Canada’s First Nations have a warrior tradition.

“Our obligation was to our families, our children, our elders and our community,” Sheldon Day Chief said. “Our ancestral warrior history was about protecting and providing.”

That tradition continued through two world wars, the Korean War, conflicts in other countries and on peacekeeping missions.

Their goal was to protect the Canadian way of life.

“They fought for each and every one of you,” Day Chief said.

Arnold Mountain Horse
Arnold Mountain Horse talked to students about the three Mountain Horse brothers — Albert, Mike and Joe — who fought in World War One.

More than 4,000 Indigenous soldiers fought in World War One, and at least 3,000 served in the armed forces during World War Two.

Arnold Mountain Horse provided students with some family history related to world wars.

Students were told about the three Mountain Horse brothers from the Blood Reserve who enlisted during World War One.

Albert was the oldest Mountain Horse brother.

“He enlisted without telling any of the family what his intentions were when the war broke out,” Arnold Mountain Horse said. “He looked at the future, not only for himself but for the generations to come.”

Joe and Mike Mountain Horse were shocked to learn their brother had enlisted without telling anyone in the family.

The younger brothers decided it wouldn’t be right for their brother to fight in Europe on his own.

Mike and Joe Mountain Horse came to the recruiting office in Macleod and enlisted — also without telling anyone else.

When they were deployed to Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the two Mountain Horse brothers began looking for Albert.

“The battle was very heavy on their arrival and they were posted on the front lines,” Arnold Mountain Horse told the students.

While on the front lines, the Mountain Horse brothers learned Albert had been wounded in battle.

After recovering from his injuries, Albert Mountain Horse returned to battle.

Mike Mountain Horse was wounded three times and received the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The Mountain Horse brothers returned to Canada as highly-decorated military officers.

Arnold Mountain Horse showed the students a buffalo robe Mike Mountain Horse created with the help of Ambrose Two Chiefs.

The buffalo robe detailed the events Mike Mountain Horse experienced on the battlefields of Europe.

“It’s what he did, and what he experienced in battle,” Arnold Mountain Horse said.

One story tells how Mike Mountain Horse and his machine gun section found a cellar filled with german soldiers.

Mountain Horse called for them to surrender but was shot and wounded by the German officer. Mountain Horse in turn shot and killed the officer.

Another story details how Mountain Horse fought three German soldiers in hand-to-hand combat, killing two with his knife.

At the battle of Amiens, a German shell wiped out everyone in Mountain Horse’s section, but he survived.

“Everything that was written on that buffalo robe was every story that he had from battle,” Arnold Mountain Horse said.

Sheldon Day Chief reminded the students of the importance of all Canadian veterans.

“If they weren’t there and they didn’t fight, we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have today,” Day Chief said.

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