Aboriginal Veterans Day


Today, November 8th is Aboriginal Veterans Day, we honour all Indigenous Veterans as well as those who continue to contribute to Canada’s military. 


Thousands of Aboriginal people voluntarily enlisted in the Canadian military. Although the exact enlistment number is unknown, it is estimated that 12,000 Indigenous men and women served in the three wars (WWI. WWII, Korean War). However, it wasn’t until 1995, fifty years after the Second World War that Indigenous People were allowed to lay Remembrance Day wreaths at the National War Memorial to remember and honour their deceased comrades. At the time of the First World War, First Nations were exempt from conscription because they were not considered “citizens” of Canada. After the First World War, they didn’t receive the same assistance as other soldiers under the War Veterans Allowance Act (1932 – 1936). Aboriginal soldiers had to become enfranchised before they could sign up to fight in the Second World War, which meant that when they returned to their communities, they no longer had Indian status. Many Aboriginal veterans experienced the same unequal treatment they experienced prior to the war and were not awarded the same benefits as their non-Aboriginal counterparts.