Frederick Loft – Mohawk, Six Nations Grand River Territory
Before enlisting as a lieutenant in the Forestry Corps in WWI, Frederick Loft was working as an accountant. Loft met other First Nations soldiers overseas.
He found they had common grievances over land rights, hunting rights and poor quality education.
After the war First Nations were not given the same benefits as Canadian Soldiers.
In 1918 Loft formed a national lobby group called The League of Indians.
By 1920, the League had an estimated 9,000 members in Ontario, by 1922 he opened chapters in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Loft frequently spoke to media, challenging the status quo.
The Indian Department reacted by trying to discredit Loft.
They tried to remove his Indian Status and monitored his speeches for seditious libel.
The RCMP attended meetings to intimidate his followers.
They frequently arrested those who had left their reserves without a pass.
In 1933 Loft tried to raise money to hire a lawyer for a hunting right case.
This was now illegal under the Indian Act.
Loft was threatened with arrest and 2 years in prison.
70 year old Loft avoided prosecution by retiring from the political scene.
The movements he started proved long-lasting.
The Alberta Chapter of the League became the Indian Association of Canada.
The Saskatchewan chapter would become the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians.
Frederick Loft united Indigenous Peoples, and helped launch the modern Indigenous political movement.