Originating in Winnipeg in 1994, November 8th is National Aboriginal Veteran’s Day, a day dedicated to the remembrance and commemoration of Indigenous veterans who served in the first and second world wars and the Korean War. Despite the on-going discrimination faced, Indigenous peoples volunteered to stand with Canada in battle. It’s estimated that over 12,000 Indigenous veterans served in all three wars, including 7,000 First Nations and accounting for approximately 300 casualties.
Indigenous veterans continued to face discrimination upon returning home, many had their land expropriated, their First Nations status taken away, and were denied benefits otherwise afforded to non-Indigenous veterans. For years, Indigenous Veterans were excluded from Remembrance Day activities. It was only in 2003 that the Federal Government of Canada provided benefits to First Nations veterans who had been denied them in the past and to Metis veterans who never received them.
SVNH would like to honor Indigenous veterans for their bravery and service and stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who serve in our armed forces today. We encourage you to take time out of your day to learn about the history of Indigenous veterans and explore the ways in which you can show your support.