VETERANS IN CANADA
In the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, veterans 'efforts paid off and led to the creation of the National Round Table on First Nations Veterans, which brings together veterans' associations. First Nations fighters, the Assembly of First Nations, National Defense, Veterans Affairs Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to review the grievances of Aboriginal veterans. The process led to the recognition that First Nations veterans had been at a disadvantage with respect to access to veterans benefits, an apology and a compensation offer from the government in 2002.
On National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2001, Her Excellency the Right Honorable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, presided over the unveiling of the Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Ottawa.
This monument is a profound and enduring tribute to the contribution of all Aboriginal Canadians to war efforts and peacekeeping operations.
Many thousands of Aboriginal people were severely tested by participating in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. They served with honor and distinction in all services and ranks, from that of soldier to that of brigadier. They fought overseas to defend the sovereignty and liberty of the allied nations, and they supported this cause in the country. Finally, in peacekeeping operations abroad, they continue to show dedication.
Their heritage is still alive. When Captain Catherine Askew, Anglican chaplain of the Moose Factory Cree Nation, presided at a wreath-laying ceremony at Vimy Ridge in April 2007, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of this famous battle, she read her prayer in English and in Cree. "We must be grateful to them for all the sacrifices they have made and which we still enjoy today in our lives," she said. His words were a tribute to the thousands of young Aboriginal soldiers who had served their country: