anderson edith monture
Aboriginal women also made sacrifices and contributions during the war. For example, Edith Anderson Monture, a nurse who served overseas in a hospital at a US base.
The youngest of eight children, Edith Anderson was born in 1890 on the Six Nations Grand River Reserve. As a young woman, she was determined to become a nurse, but she was unlikely to receive this training in Canada. She studied at the New Rochelle School of Nursing in New York State, and after graduating as a registered nurse in 1914, she worked at a US elementary school.
In 1917, Edith Anderson, then 27, joined the US Medical Corps . A few months later, they found themselves in Vittel, France, at Buffalo Base Hospital No. 23, a former resort hotel. Nurse Anderson spent most of her time in the hospital treating soldiers wounded by firearms or intoxicated with gas. She was sometimes sent to other hospitals to lend a hand, which gave her the opportunity to see more of the country. Sometimes she saw more than she would have liked.
In 1983, a reporter for the local newspaper, The Grand River Sachem , interviewed the former nurse. She was 93 years old, but still full of life and very sociable. She said:
We walked to the scene of the fighting. It was horrible to see - the ruined houses, the burned trees, empty shells lying everywhere, entire cities had jumped.
She particularly remembered a 20-year-old American at Hospital 23:
He was shot in the neck, but he was fine. One night while I was on duty, he bleed heavily. We had nurses, but we could not find them. He was a young man who brought bread for the Americans who helped me.
We finally managed to stop the bleeding and calm it down. The next night he was fine, but he had another haemorrhage the next night. He died during the following night.
It was a shock for all of us because we thought he was going to get away with it. I got her mother's address in the United States and I wrote her to tell her that I was at the bedside of her son when he passed away.
After the war, Edith Anderson returned to the Six Nations Reserve and it was there that the young American's parents communicated with her to invite her to Iowa. She went there. The young man's parents made a trip to Vittel, and on their way home they stopped at her house.
Edith Anderson married Claybran Monture in 1919 and then raised four children. She continued her nursing career by occasionally working in a hospital on the reserve until 1955.