OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 21, 2012) -
Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Greg Rickford, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, laid wreaths today at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument on the occasion of National Aboriginal Day. Representatives of Aboriginal Veterans' organizations were in attendance.
"Our Government is proud to recognize the important contributions of Aboriginal Veterans to our military history," said Minister Blaney. "These brave men and women served our country with pride and conviction and we must ensure their legacy is preserved so that younger generations are aware of their sacrifices and accomplishments."
The National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was dedicated in 2001. The monument incorporates images of four "spiritual guides"-the wolf, the bear, the bison and the caribou-possessing qualities that Aboriginal Canadians see as key to military success.
"The stories of Aboriginal Canadians and our military history are interwoven with heroic deeds," said Mr. Rickford. "Every story speaks of their unwavering commitment to the highest ideals of peace and freedom. Today, our Government honours the courageous individuals who sacrificed so much in service to our country."
Canada's Aboriginal people have been fighting for Canada on the front lines going back to 1812. Then, warriors like Tecumseh, John Norton and John Brant led Aboriginal forces in alliance with the Canadians and the British against the Americans. Aboriginal Canadians would go on to serve in many more conflicts over the years, from the First World War to Afghanistan.
It is estimated that more than 7,000 Aboriginal men and women served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, with at least 500 giving their lives. At home today, many are members of the Canadian Rangers, active predominantly in northern Canada. The Rangers are members of the Canadian Forces Reserve, and use their knowledge of the North to maintain a national military presence in those remote areas, monitoring the coastlines and assisting in rescue operations.
For more information on the role of Aboriginal Veterans in Canada's military history, please visit www.veterans.gc.ca.
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