Why did Canadians volunteer to fight in the Vietnam War?
A brief history of line-crossing between Canada and the United States
Is the boundary between Canada and the U.S. really the "longest undefended border" in the world? What are some of the lesser-known reasons that people have crossed this human-drawn line?
In the latest episode of The Secret Life of Canada — The Medicine Line — co-hosts Leah Simone-Bowen and Falen Johnson look the long and complex history of the Canada/U.S. border and how its creation impacted the environment and Indigenous communities who live on the line.
Also, as American draft dodgers came north to Canada to evade government-mandated service in the Vietnam War, why did thousands of Canadians head the opposite direction to serve voluntarily?
What you'll hear this episode:
- An immersive introduction to "The Medicine Line" — an imperceptible boundary known to the Lakota and other Indigenous people.
- How the Americans and the British decided where the border between the U.S. and Canada should be. Plus, a clause in Jay's Treaty that wasn't equally recognized by both sides.
- What is the slash, and how does it maintains the divide between the U.S. and Canada? (Note: this slash has nothing to do with Guns N' Roses.)
- The environmental impact of the border. A case study on salmon migration, courtesy of Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE and the Sidenote podcast.
- An incredibly brief history of the Vietnam War. (We're talking three minutes plus a couple bites of beef patty.)
- Why Canadian volunteers went south to fight for the U.S. even as American draft dodgers came north to evade the same war in Vietnam.
- The Metis and The Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People. Book by Michel Hogue.
- Gene Boy Came Home. Documentary by Alanis Obomsawin.
- A Not-So-Straight Story. Opinion piece by Frank Jacobs, published by the New York Times.
- Jay's Treaty. Reference article from the Library of Congress.
- Jay's Treaty Reference article from the Canadian Encyclopedia.
- The Slash. Travel log in Atlas Obscura.
- The Slash: 20-Foot Clearing Stretches 5,525 Miles Across World's Longest Border. Podcast episode from 99% Invisible, produced by Kurt Kohlstedt.
- You are on Indian Land. NFB documentary by Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell.
- International Boundary Commission. Website.
- Invisible Countries: Journeys to the Edge of Nationhood. Book by Joshua Keating
- The 49th Parallel View: How Did Canada And The U.S. Get Divvied Up That Way? Timeline in World Atlas.
- Mohawk Council of the Akwesasne. Website.
- Columbia River Treaty. History fact sheet from the B.C. government.
- Imprinting to chemical cues: the basis for home stream selection in salmon. Journal by AT Scholz, RM Horrall, JC Cooper, AD Hasler, published by Science.
- There used to be salmon as big as golden retrievers in the Columbia River, but dams killed them off. Article by Matt Reimann in Medium.
- Pacific Northwest salmon are in big genetic trouble. Article by Robert F. Service for Science.
- Dams: impacts on salmon and steelhead. Report by Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
- Orca and Salmon. Fact sheet by the David Suzuki Foundation.
- What is a fish ladder? Fact sheet by the National Ocean Service.
- Interview with Tracey Arial, author of I Volunteered: Canadian Vietnam Vets Remember.
- The Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association. Website including fact sheets and timelines.
- Lost to History: The Canadians who fought in Vietnam. Article by CBC News.
- Unknown Warriors: Canadians in the Vietnam War. Book by Fred Gaffen.
- Vietnam, A History. Book by Stanley Karnow.
- The Vietnam War. A PBS film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick.
- Interview with Mark Satin, author of the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada.
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