Today is Indigenous Veterans Day, which allows Canadians to recognize the military service and sacrifices made by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.
The day was first commemorated in 1994. Before that year, Indigenous veterans were not recognized in Remembrance Day activities. Indigenous veterans had to overcome many obstacles to serve Canada in these wars, including adjusting to new cultures, sometimes learning to speak new languages and travelling long distances to enlist.
A memorial to Canadian Aboriginal Veterans was built in Winnipeg in 1994 to establish the day, which has spread across the country ever since.
A special event to commemorate the fallen soldiers will be held in Yellowknife’s Lakeview Cemetery later tonight. Last year’s event was small and simple. Indigenous leaders and Legion members gave small speeches about the bravery of the many indigenous soldiers who served in both World Wars, Korea, and Afghanistan.
Then, after a moment of silence and laying of wreaths, members of the local Cadets group placed candles on the gravestones of every veteran buried in the cemetery, regardless of whether or not they were indigenous.