Statement on National Aboriginal Veterans Day and Remembrance Day

RE: National Aboriginal Veterans Day, Remembrance Day


Today I would like to take a moment to acknowledge National Aboriginal Veterans Day, Sunday, November 8, 2020 and Remembrance Day, Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Both are days that encourage Canadians to remember and pay tribute to the people who sacrificed their lives for their country as well as those who fought and survived the often unspeakable horror of war. 

National Aboriginal Veterans Day was created to commemorate of the contributions of Indigenous veterans in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. As Indigenous people were not citizens of Canada, they were not conscripted, however, it is estimated that over 12,000 Indigenous people volunteered in all three wars. Despite their sacrifice, Indigenous veterans continued to face discrimination upon their return home, including being denied benefits and loss of Indian Status. 

National Aboriginal Veterans Day has its origins on the Prairies, with the first ceremony taking place in Winnipeg in 1994, after Indigenous veterans contributions were not recognized in Remembrance Day ceremonies. Thank you to all Indigenous veterans who fought to protect Canada for their sacrifice, despite ongoing discrimination as well as all Indigenous people who continue to serve in Canada’s armed forced today. Join an online ceremony

According to the Royal Canadian Legion, Remembrance Day ceremonies have played a major role in Remembrance since 1931. Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Canadians have gathered together in memorial parks, community halls, schools, and where ever they are able to stand in honour of all who have fallen. Despite the realities of the pandemic, we can continue this tradition, though it might look different than previous years. The Legion is encouraging Canadians to join the National Remembrance Day Ceremony online this year. The ceremony will be streamed live from the National War Memorial in Ottawa

The dedication and commitment of Canada’s veterans and armed forces to public service and the values of our country is admirable. I hope all PSAC members take a moment to commemorate the contributions of Canada’s aboriginal veterans this Sunday and participate in a virtual Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11. 

Lest we forget.

In Solidarity,

Marianne Hladun
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies

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