November 8, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre, Commander Canadian Army, issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Veterans Day:
“I am honoured today, as Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples, to recognize and celebrate the many significant contributions of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis people – past and present – who have served in our nation’s military.
“Over 12,000 people from Canada’s Indigenous communities served at home and abroad during the conflicts of the first half of the 20th century. One in three able-bodied Indigenous men enlisted to fight in the First World War. Many Indigenous people travelled great distances and faced the culture shock of unfamiliar environments in order to enlist. Traditional hunting and warrior skills proved invaluable in and around the battlefield, and many Indigenous members served as reconnaissance scouts and snipers.
“Indigenous women and men participated and distinguished themselves in every major Canadian campaign of the Second World War, from the long and treacherous battle on the Italian peninsula to the D-Day landings at Juno Beach. Their valiant support was also evident on the home front, where Inuit communities along the coast of Labrador helped to disrupt German U-boat crews’ ability to land automated weather stations.
“The Cree language was used to transmit secret messages and protect critical information from…