Stamp honouring Tommy Prince unveiled at CMHR

By Dave Baxter

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A decorated Indigenous war hero who grew up in a small First

Nations community has been honoured for his service with the release of a brand new stamp that bears his image.

On Monday, during a ceremony at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a new stamp was unveiled by Canada Post that honours the life and the legacy of Sgt. Tommy Prince, who grew up on the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, north of Winnipeg.

Prince, who served in both the Second World War and the Korean War, was awarded a total of 11 medals for service to his country.

During Monday’s ceremony current Brokenhead Chief Gordon Bluesky spoke about some of Prince’s heroic actions while on the battlefield, including what he said was a “gruelling trek” to locate an enemy camp that saw Prince travel without food or water for more than 72 hours.

“He is remembered for his resilience and his strength,” Bluesky said. “This goes to show his dedication and willpower.

“Think about what it took to do that as an individual.”

Bluesky added that he believes Prince’s story would make a “great Hollywood movie,” because of his service on the battlefield, and his acts of heroism.

“I have been looking at these Hollywood movies and I see Superman 14 or Spiderman 8 and so on, and I just think `when are they going to start telling real stories about people like Sgt. Tommy Prince?”’

But Bluesky said that Prince faced other battles after the wars despite his service to his country, and was subject to “systemic racism” once he left the army, including not even being able to vote in a federal election after serving in the Second World War, and not receiving many of the benefits and opportunities that non-Indigenous veterans received once they were discharged.

Prince’s son Tommy Prince Jr. was at Monday’s ceremony and helped to unveil the new stamp, and he said while many remember his father, who died in 1977, for his service to his country, he also remembers him for the kind and generous person and father that he was.

“If he had a dollar in his pocket and you needed it more than he did, he would gladly give it to you,” Prince Jr. said.

“He was a loving caring man.”

The stamp, which features Prince in uniform from his time in the Korean War and images of northern lights will be officially issued on Oct. 28.

 

– Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

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