Ontario Honours Aboriginal Veterans Day
David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, released the following statement to mark Aboriginal Veterans Day.
"On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I would like to recognize the sacrifices of First Nation, Inuit and Métis veterans. Aboriginal Veterans Day is an opportunity for Ontarians and all Canadians to learn about the contributions and achievements of Aboriginal veterans.
There is a long history of Indigenous Canadians offering their service to our military. If it weren't for the First Nation and Métis warriors who fought alongside British soldiers and Canadian militia during the War of 1812, there would be no country called Canada today.
Indigenous people were exempt from conscription, yet more than 4,000 left their homes to fight for the freedom of others during the First World War. They fought and died alongside people who enjoyed more rights and freedoms than they did back home.
This past June, I had the honour of witnessing a plaque being unveiled in Wasauksing First Nation that commemorated the military service of Chief Francis Pegamahgabow, a renowned sniper who served with the Canadian Army in WWI. He was the most decorated Indigenous soldier in WWI and received the Military Medal three times. He was a brother-in-arms with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal soldiers alike. As Chief, he went on to serve his community.
Indigenous people and communities are proud of their military contributions and achievements - and rightfully so.
Lest we forget the sacrifices made by First Nation, Inuit and Métis veterans on this day and always."
Scott Cavan Minister's Office
Flavia Mussio Media Contact