Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora – Rainy River, issued the
following statement marking Indigenous Veterans Day:
“Today, on Indigenous Veterans Day, Ontarians come together to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of First Nation, Inuit and Métis people who served in the Canadian Armed Forces. We remember those who gave their lives in the line of duty and honour the courage of Indigenous veterans who fought on the front lines of every conflict in which Canada has been involved.
Indigenous people made great sacrifices to defend the freedoms we enjoy today. They left their families and communities and travelled long distances to enlist and join the war efforts. They faced and overcame cultural and linguistic differences and fought valiantly. Their communities donated money, clothing and food, and Indigenous women served as nurses, air traffic controllers and radio operators. We express our heartfelt gratitude to them and their families for their service and sacrifices.
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples have a long and proud tradition of military service to Canada, which continues today. Indigenous people are active in Canadian military operations around the globe, from NATO duties in Europe to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Indigenous service members have received many decorations such as the Distinguished Flying Cross and Military Medals. Very recently, the Canadian Rangers and headquarters staff of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, which commands the Rangers of Northern Ontario, were awarded a rare military honour, a Canadian Armed Forces Unit Commendation. This was in recognition of their response to the COVID-19 outbreaks in remote First Nations in Ontario’s far north.
Today, I encourage everyone to pay tribute to Canada’s Indigenous veterans through quiet reflection and participation in events commemorating Indigenous Veterans Day.
Lest we forget.”