KPU students create archive remembering Canadian soldiers of the First World War

Wed, Nov 10, 2021

A KPU history course assignment has become a valuable resource sharing the experiences of individual Canadian soldiers in the First World War.

KPU Remembers features short videos by students studying Canada and the First World War that profile the experiences of individual soldiers based on an analysis of primary source materials from the period, such as diaries, letters and government reports.

“It’s amazing what those students did; those documents are so difficult to interpret and understand,” says instructor Chris Hyland.

The student accounts reflect the diversity of soldiers involved in the war, recounting the stories of Indigenous soldier Henry ‘Louie’ Norwest, who became one of the most effective marksmen of the war, and Masumi Mitsui, who travelled to Alberta to enlist because racism stopped him doing so in Vancouver.

“This is a good public service,” adds Hyland. “These students are engaged with their communities and the issues going on in society.”

Traditionally, this had been a written assignment, but Hyland added a video component this year because students love the medium and it teaches them valuable video-making skills. The videos and write-ups featured on the site are the students’ own work.

“The fact that they could put those ideas together in a way that was comprehensive and respectful in a two-minute video is very good,” he says. “Some really embraced it, others were a little more hesitant because they hadn’t done it before, but they did it and learned some new and important skills. It was a big confidence booster.”