It is significant that Xavier and Elijah are Cree because they do not really fit in. They joined the army to be heroes, because their culture was diminished by the white men.
Like American Indians, the Cree Indians in Canada were sent to reservations. Elijah is Cree, but he also has a connection to the white man because he attended reserve schools on the reservation. They compare their life at war to their life back home.
The nights are getting cold again. Goose-hunting season back in Mushkegowuk. (p. 263)
They are lonely. There are very few of their kind in the army, and no one understands them or their way of life. The white men “do not like it that the Indians talk in words they can’t understand” (p. 264). As the corporal says, the Cree “all want to be warriors.” The white men don’t appreciate their skill as snipers, and don’t want to believe their kills.