OTTAWA – Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day:
“Today, we mark National Indigenous Peoples Day—a day to recognize and honour the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
“The Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada are united in recognizing and remembering the courage of the thousands of Indigenous women and men who served during the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan conflict, and numerous other military operations.
“Indigenous peoples have a long and proud history being a part of Canada’s military. From their role in the War of 1812 as our valued allies, to the more than 4,000 Indigenous women and men who served during the First World War, and the many Indigenous members who served in Afghanistan. Their contributions, both past and present, have been instrumental to keeping our country safe and preserving our rights and freedoms.
“Today, more than 2,700 Indigenous people currently serve with the same passion and pride as those who came before them. Employed in trades across our Canadian Armed Forces, they serve as exceptional leaders from coast to coast to coast.
“The unique heritage and diverse cultures of Indigenous peoples are a source of strength and inspiration for us all. On this day, we celebrate the contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to Canada past, present and future, and invite all Canadians to join us in thanking them for their tremendous service to Canada.”