Francis Pegahmagabow (1889–1952), a member of the Ojibwe nation, was born in Shawanaga, Ontario. Enlisting at the onset of the First World War, he became the most decorated Canadian Indigenous soldier for bravery and the most accomplished sniper in North American military history. After the war, Pegahmagabow settled in Wasauksing, Ontario. He served his community as both chief and councillor and belonged to the Brotherhood of Canadian Indians, an early national Indigenous political organization. Francis proudly served a term as Supreme Chief of the National Indian Government, retiring from office in 1950.
Francis Pegahmagabow’s stories describe many parts of his life and are characterized by classic Ojibwe narrative. They reveal aspects of Francis’s Anishinaabe life and worldview. Interceding chapters by Brian McInnes provide valuable cultural, spiritual, linguistic, and historic insights that give a greater context and application for Francis’s words and world. Presented in their original Ojibwe as well as in English translation, the stories also reveal a rich and evocative relationship to the lands and waters of Georgian Bay.
In "Sounding Thunder", Brian McInnes provides new perspective on Pegahmagabow and his experience through a unique synthesis of Ojibwe oral history, historical record, and Pegahmagabow family stories.
About the authors
Brian D. McInnes is a professional educator and author dedicated to diversity education, youth engagement, and organizational leadership. Brian is a (McInnes) descendant of Francis Pegahmagabow, and writing Sounding Thunder was an important opportunity for him to contribute to the legacy of his greatgrandfather.
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002 and spent the bulk of his journalism career at CBC, most recently as host of Up North, the afternoon radio program for northern Ontario. He lives in Sudbury with his wife and two sons.
“This uniquely intimate portrait illuminates Francis’s commitment to live in a way that reflected the spiritual values of sharing and respect for life, despite his military record of 378 enemy kills for which he became renowned.”
Canadian Journal of History
“The recognition of a remarkable Canadian and Nishinaabe hero alone makes this a worthy read. Perhaps more essential is the defense and persistence of Nishinaabe culture through the incorporation of language and stories in this book.”
Studies in American Indian Literatures
"Brings complexity and nuance to the story (or stories) of Francis Pegahmagabow’s life.”
Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies
“More than 20 years in the writing, Brian D. McInnes’s Sounding Thunder is an extraordinary book.”
Indian Country Today
“We could all benefit from a lesson in the storytelling traditions of McInnes, Wasauksing, and the Ojibwe nation. I know I have. Do yourself a favour: buy this book. Read it, enjoy it, and learn.”
The Canadian Historical Review