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Indigenous Peoples and the Second World War
The Politics, Experiences and Legacies of War in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

  • Date Published: May 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108440745


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About the Authors
  • During the Second World War, Indigenous people in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada mobilised en masse to support the war effort, despite withstanding centuries of colonialism. Their roles ranged from ordinary soldiers fighting on distant shores, to soldiers capturing Japanese prisoners on their own territory, to women working in munitions plants on the home front. R. Scott Sheffield and Noah Riseman examine Indigenous experiences of the Second World War across these four settler societies. Informed by theories of settler colonialism, martial race theory and military sociology, they show how Indigenous people and their communities both shaped and were shaped by the Second World War. Particular attention is paid to the policies in place before, during and after the war, highlighting the ways that Indigenous people negotiated their own roles within the war effort at home and abroad.

    • Provides a new perspective on the national histories of Indigenous communities through a comparative and transnational lens
    • Draws heavily on Indigenous oral histories and written sources, as well as policy documents and other archival records
    • Provides a gendered reading of Indigenous service
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A good read for the serious scholar.' Albert A. Nofi, The NYMAS Review

    '… impressive .' William John Pratt, Canadian Military History

    '… this book is a "must read” for anyone interested in Indigenous peoples' experiences in twentieth-century wars, comparative approaches to Indigenous policy, and war and society more generally.' P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Native American and Indigenous Studies

    'This book tells an extraordinary story of war mobility during the tremendous demographic upheavals of World War II. Miyakatsu Koike, the author of the book, travelled from Surabaya in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) to Australia as a civilian internee, and this book is his first-hand account of his experience in two countries, Indonesia and Australia.' Christopher Pugsley, Australian Historical Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108440745
    • length: 365 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Context:
    1. Indigenous peoples and settler colonialism to 1900
    2. Indigenous peoples and settler militaries, 1900–1945
    Part II. The War Years, 1939–1945:
    3. Engagement: Indigenous voluntary military service
    4. Experiences of military life
    5. Mobilising indigeneity: indigenous knowledge, language, and culture in the war effort
    6. Home front experiences
    7. Contesting engagement: conscription and the limits of Indigenous collaboration
    Part III. Post-War Reform:
    8. Homecomings: transition to peace, veterans' return, and access to veterans' benefits
    9. Rehabilitating assimilation: post-war reconstruction and Indigenous policy reform

  • Authors

    R. Scott Sheffield, University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia
    R. Scott Sheffield is Associate Professor of History at the University of the Fraser Valley. He is the author of The Red Man's on the Warpath: The Image of the 'Indian' and the Second World War (2004).

    Noah Riseman, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
    Noah Riseman is Associate Professor of History at the Australian Catholic University. His first book, Defending Whose Country?: Indigenous Soldiers in the Pacific War (2012), was shortlisted for the 2013 Chief Minister's Northern Territory History Award.

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