Peter Murray Marshall, Maurice’s older brother, c 1916. Courtesy of John R. Prosper, Paqtnkek. Restoration: Anne Louise MacDonald.
In conversation with Paula Paul, June 27, 2014:
John Prosper related the story of how the Marshall boys were split up from their family as children and two of them met by chance during the war. The exchange went something like this:
Where are you from?
That’s where I’m from.
Who is your mother?
That’s my mother.
Our team wondered if Mi’kmaq who served in the armed forces in WWI – and were wearing the Maple Leaf as in this picture – had the vote. It was not until 1960 that it was passed into law that Registered First Nations men and women had the right to vote. Paula noted that Band Registry Numbers began in 1952.
However, a few Aboriginal people received the franchise in 1917 under the terms of the Military Voters Act, which gave the vote to all members of the armed forces, past and present. But there was little pressure on the government, either from the public or from Aboriginal people themselves, to extend the franchise.
The situation changed following World War II, a conflict in which many Aboriginals had served with distinction. In 1948, a parliamentary committee recommended that Aboriginal people receive the vote, and the Inuit were enfranchised that year. First Nations, however, were not, chiefly because the government required them to give up the tax exemptions that had been a part of their treaty rights for so long. As a result of this condition, First Nations refused the vote.