OTTAWA, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans, laid a wreath at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in honour of Canada's Aboriginal Veterans.
"Today we gather to remember the efforts and tremendous achievements of Canada's Aboriginal Veterans in times of conflict throughout our country's history," said Minister Blaney. "It is so important for Canadians to learn of the legacy of Canada's Aboriginal Veterans. Their contribution has been and continues to be a significant part of our shared history."
More than 7,000 Aboriginal men and women served in the First and Second World Wars and in the Korean War. Of these, at least 500 gave their lives fighting for peace and freedom. An unknown number of Inuit, Métis and non-status Indians also participated in these 20th century conflicts. Today, many Aboriginal, Inuit and Métis men and women serve in the Canadian Armed Forces, a number of them having served overseas in the war in Afghanistan.
"The stories of our Aboriginal men and women in uniform are an inspiration to all Canadians," said MP Galipeau. "Their bravery and skills were assets to Canada's efforts during the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and other conflicts. We must ensure that their experiences are passed on to all Canadians, especially to future generations."
Some 60 years ago, several hundred Aboriginal Canadians, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit, served during the Korean War. Canada's role in the Korean War started at sea, on Canadian warships such as HMCS Sioux, HMCS Cayuga and HMCS Huron. Not only did these ships carry the names of some of Canada's First Nations, some Aboriginal Canadians proudly served aboard them. Soon, Canada's involvement in the Korean War was expanded to the battlefields and skies of Korea.
Many Aboriginal Canadians who served in Korea had also served in the Second World War, including Tommy Prince, one of Canada's most decorated Aboriginal Veterans. For others it was their first experience, as many young Aboriginals proudly followed in the footsteps of family members who had served in the First or Second World Wars.
For more information on the role of Aboriginal Veterans in Canada's military history, please visit www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/history/aboriginal.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs