David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, released the following statement to mark Aboriginal Veterans Day:
“On behalf of the government and people of Ontario, I want to recognize the enormous contributions of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit veterans. Today is an opportunity for us all to reflect upon their dedication and sacrifice.
There is a long history of Indigenous people offering their service in alliance with the British and Canadian militias and militaries, from the Seven Years War, to the American Revolution, to the War of 1812. Without Indigenous peoples and the contributions of their veterans, Canada would not be the country it is today.
This year, we marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle at Vimy Ridge, and I want to recognize the participation of many Indigenous peoples in this critical victory in particular. I also want to acknowledge the important role played by the Union of Ontario Indians who, alongside delegates from other Indigenous organizations, travelled with veterans from their communities to pay respects and take part in remembrance ceremonies at the Vimy Memorial in France earlier this year.
Ontario is proud to acknowledge the legacy of the veterans of Vimy, just as we are proud to acknowledge the veterans of the wars and missions since, and to support the Indigenous people serving Canada in operations around the world.
Thank you for your service.”