Indige­nous vet­er­ans re­mem­bered

Abo­rig­i­nal sol­diers de­serve spe­cial thanks, min­is­ter says

Toronto Star - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

OTTAWA— Indige­nous peo­ple across Canada re­mem­bered fallen an­ces­tors and com­mu­nity mem­bers with prayers and of­fer­ings of thanks Tues­day, as they marked Na­tional Abo­rig­i­nal Vet­er­ans Day.

It is es­ti­mated that more than 12,000 abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple joined the Cana­dian mil­i­tary dur­ing the First and Sec­ond World Wars and Korea. More than 500 were killed. Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Min­is­ter Kent Hehr says more First Na­tions, Inuit and Métis served in those wars as a per­cent­age of their to­tal pop­u­la­tion than any other eth­nic group in Canada.

Hehr, who laid a wreath dur­ing a cer­e­mony at the Na­tional Abo­rig­i­nal Vet­er­ans Mon­u­ment in Ottawa, says abo­rig­i­nal Cana­di­ans de­serve a spe­cial thanks for their con­tri­bu­tions to Canada’s de­fence. Na­tional Abo­rig­i­nal Vet­er­ans Day has been grow­ing in size and scope since it was first in­au­gu­rated by Winnipeg’s city coun­cil in 1994, though it is still not of­fi­cially rec­og­nized by the fed­eral govern­ment.

There is a bur­geon­ing de­bate about what the day should rep­re­sent. Some say it should rec­og­nize that many indige­nous vet­er­ans were de­nied the ser­vices of­fered to non-abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple when they re­turned from Europe and Korea. But oth­ers want it to re­main fo­cused on those who died.

More than 12,000 abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple joined the Cana­dian mil­i­tary dur­ing the First and Sec­ond World Wars and Korea

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