Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

June 21, 2011 11:05 ET

Aboriginal Veterans Honoured on National Aboriginal Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 21, 2011) - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, together with His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada paid tribute today to the service and sacrifice of Aboriginal Veterans during National Aboriginal Day. The Governor General and the Minister each placed a wreath at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, which was dedicated ten years ago.

"Our Government recognizes the sacrifices and achievements of Aboriginal Veterans who have served this great country," said Minister Blaney. "This magnificent monument has stood here for a decade to remind us of their heroic contributions. We must preserve their legacy and ensure that younger generations are aware of the important contribution of our Canadian Aboriginal Veterans to our military history."

It is important to remember that thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have served in the First and Second World Wars, in the Korean War and in other times of conflict. More than 500 of these individuals made the ultimate sacrifice and are buried in cemeteries around the world.

Tom Charles Longboat's is one such story of quiet bravery. Longboat, an Onondaga from the Six Nations Grand River Reserve, was a world champion long-distance runner. When duty called, however, he left his medals from the Boston and New York City marathons behind and enlisted to be a dispatch carrier with the 107th Pioneer Battalion in France during the First World War. Tom Longboat is a member of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame and the Indian Hall of Fame.

For more information on the contribution of Aboriginal Veterans to Canada's military history, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.veterans.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468
    janice.summerby@vac-acc.gc.ca

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649