Today we take time to acknowledge and honour the bravery, sacrifice, and contribution of our family and community members who have fought for and served the country we call Canada. Despite being denied many rights of citizenship, including the right to vote, Indigenous people left their families to fight in far away lands.
These Warriors are examples for all of us, and on this day we raise our hands in gratitude to each of them. We encourage our community to take time to reflect upon the important contributions and bravery of Indigenous Veterans
The History of National Indigenous Veterans Day
Indigenous people have served an integral role in Canada’s military since 1812, and it is estimated that 12,000 Indigenous people served in the wars of the twentieth century. During WWII, many served in specialized reconnaissance or sniper units, and Cree speaking ‘code talkers’ played a vital role in the Allied military intelligence.
However, despite their brave and distinguished service, Indigenous soldiers returned home to renewed racism, disenfranchisement, loss of their status and treaty rights, rejection from veterans organizations and supports, and were not recognized for their service.
Canada’s colonial legacy and racism has meant Indigenous service members and veterans have had to fight to get the acknowledgement and respect they deserve. Many Remembrance Day ceremonies did not include recognition of Indigenous veterans, and so in 1994 the first ceremony honouring the unique histories and contributions of Indigenous veterans was held on November 8.