Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke today acknowledged Indigenous veterans who served Canada during times of war and international conflict as well as in peacetime.
“Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to spend time with some of Manitoba’s Indigenous veterans,” said Clarke. “It was truly a privilege to meet these heroes, and listen to their stories of courage and determination. There are no words to adequately describe the gratitude we owe for the contributions and achievements of those who have served and continue to serve our country.”
Manitoba was the first province to recognize National Aboriginal Veterans Day on Nov. 8, 1994. Now recognized across Canada, commemorations and ceremonies take place to honour the estimated 12,000 Indigenous people who served in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War.
Serving with honour and distinction in all branches of the Armed Forces, many endured additional challenges such as cultural differences and language barriers. Despite these challenges, the valuable skills they brought from their traditions made them excellent sailors, pilots and soldiers.
Indigenous women also contributed overseas, often as nurses, while the women at home supported war efforts by helping raise money and aiding in the manufacturing of key materials and supplies required by Canadian troops.
“I ask all Manitobans never to forget the many Indigenous men and women who sacrificed their lives so that all Canadians might live a life of peace and freedom,” said Clarke.