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New lecture series promotes peace and understanding in the Shuswap region
Okanagan College Media Release

James Wood March 2014As we near the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI (July 28, 1914), military historian and Okanagan College professor, James Wood will chronicle the experiences of First Nations soldiers who volunteered to fight Canada’s war in Europe even though they were denied the equal rights of citizenship back home.

“Ultimately this is a story of the Great War and of great expectations,” says Dr. James Wood.

“These soldiers went overseas hoping to achieve something and ended up tragically disappointed,” he says.

Captured through the voice of commanding officer Colonel Andrew T. Thompson, a committed advocate of the First Nations soldiers who served under his command in the 114th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, the lecture will follow the unit’s wartime service and postwar experiences.

Dr. Wood will lead attendees through the harrowing tale on Mar. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Salmar Classic Theatre in Salmon Arm. Admission to the event is a non-perishable food item or cash donation to the Salmon Arm Food Bank.

Specializing in Canadian history and 19th-20th century international diplomacy, Dr. Wood’s books include We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force (2006) and Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921, published in 2010. His next book, a biography of Lt.-Col. Thompson, will explore issues of citizenship and defence reform in Canada from 1895 to 1939.   

“This lecture is the first in an ongoing series of events promoting Aboriginal history and environmental stewardship with the intent of fostering greater peace and understanding in our community,” says Jim Barmby, Regional Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke.

“This exciting new series wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Dan MacQuarrie, a retired United Church Minister, humanitarian and longtime resident of the area,” he says.

For more information on this event, visit