William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

ODE TO A FIRST NATION’S SNIPER

On the trap line he was a marksman, pulling his toboggan o’er the hills
In the front line he was a sniper-scout with many, many kills
Then he came back to Canada at the end of World War Two
Fur prices were down; there were no jobs, nothing for him to do?

He traveled down to Winnipeg, and joined the welfare line
He spent his time upon skid road – drinking Cataba wine
In 1950 he got the news the Korean War broke out
He was wanted once again – there was need for a sniper-scout

The Scout sailed out of Seattle, he was heading far from home
He found himself at the front again, a-working for Jim Stone[1]
He roamed the hills making kills on behalf of the Canadian Nation
He helped the PPCLI[2] to win the US Presidential Citation

The be-medaled hero, he came back, but no one wanted him
Throwing blood upon fur coats – there were no jobs once again
Leg hold traps they were banned outright– they bought no furs at all
No work no work for the Army Scout – For trappers there was no call

A Sergeant in the Army – with distinguished medals on his chest
Shooting a sniper rifle was the thing that he did best
A civvie street Indian no one wanted – a trapper without a trap line
Nowhere to bunk he would fall down drunk a-holdin his bottle o’ wine

No Army pension from Canada, no treatment for his PTSD
Drowning his demon nightmares in booze it helped to set him free
No job, no honour, no country, because he was first Nation Cree
The day he died those who cried were Blackfoot, Algonquin, Sarcee[3]

Author’s Note: This poem was written to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War. The Canadian Army owes a great deal to the Sniper Scout trappers and hunters who served with courage and skill. They go unsung and un-remembered. The 1st Nation’s Veterans Association with people like my buddy, Len Desjarlais, are trying to get the historical story out.

THE TREATMENT OF CANADIAN FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS SHAMES US ALL