Ottawa , June 20, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Day on June 21:
"Canada's military heritage has been enriched by Aboriginal Veterans who, in each major conflict that Canada was called upon to enter, proudly came forward to do their part for this land, our home.
"Not only did these individuals often have to overcome cultural stigmas and challenges, but they also gave of themselves selflessly, with honour and distinction, in the name of peace, and for this we are indebted to them.
"Throughout wartime and peace support operations of the 20th century, many thousands of Aboriginal men and women served in all branches and virtually every rank of the Canadian military. More than 500 ultimately gave their lives.
"On the home front, in addition to providing clothing, food and land, Aboriginal communities made significant financial contributions to the Canadian war effort.
"Our country has proudly paid homage to this heritage in many ways, such as the names of Royal Canadian Navy warships like HMCS Iroquois, HMCS Cayuga and HMCS Huron, and with the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Ottawa.
"It is our humble privilege to recognize those Aboriginals who served and who sacrificed so much for this country; to celebrate the diversity of Inuit, Métis, and First Nations peoples; and to give thanks for the shared values that so many have fought to defend."
For more information on the role of Aboriginal Canadians in Canada's military history, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada