Statement on Aboriginal Veterans Day

OTTAWA, Nov. 8, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Carolyn Bennett Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Honourable Kent Hehr Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement today on the occasion of Aboriginal Veterans Day:

"On Aboriginal Veterans Day, we pause to honour the immense contributions and sacrifice of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, serving our country in times of conflict and in times of peace.

As Ministers responsible for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and for Veterans Affairs, we are always moved to see the pride in, and gratitude for, Indigenous Veterans expressed at ceremonies and in communities across the country.

Indigenous People in Canada have helped define our proud military history for over 200 years. As important allies in the War of 1812, they played a vital role in protecting Canada from advancing American forces, helping lead a united front to victory. In the centuries since, thousands served bravely in both World Wars and the Korean War, where more than 500 died in service. Their wartime participation over the last century was proportionately amongst the highest of any other group in Canada, and their contributions have shaped the Canada we know.

Today, an extraordinarily diverse contingent of more than 1,200 First Nations, Inuit and Métis people serve with the Canadian Armed Forces, representing many distinct cultures and over 55 dialects. They continue to make Canada proud through their service at home and abroad. We honour their contributions and those of their ancestors, immortalized in Canadian warship names like HMCS Iroquois, Cayuga and Huron, in the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Ottawa, and through today's ceremonies.

We must never forget the sacrifices and accomplishments of Indigenous Veterans, especially as we move forward in our journey of healing, reconciliation and a renewed relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. Reconciliation is about all Canadians making efforts to better understand the role Indigenous Veterans have played in Canada, and expressing their heartfelt gratitude. It is our hope that Canadians across the country join us in honouring them today."

This statement is also available on the Internet at

SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

For further information: Media Relations: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 819-953-1160; Media Relations: Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468

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