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.
“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.”
“More than 20 years in the writing, Brian D. McInnes’s Sounding Thunder is an extraordinary book.”
"Brings complexity and nuance to the story (or stories) of Francis Pegahmagabow’s life.”
“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.”
“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.”