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November 7, 2023
Indigenous Peoples have been part of Canada’s military history dating back to the War of 1812, when it’s estimated more than 10,000 First Nations people fought. More than 7,000 Indigenous people later served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. Many continue to serve today.
Wednesday is National Aboriginal Veterans Day, which was first observed in Winnipeg in 1994.
The Canadian Press spoke with three Indigenous soldiers about why they enlisted:
Wendy Jocko, 63, from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Ontario
Jocko hails from generations of Canadian soldiers. The first was Constant Pinesi, an influential grand chief of the Algonquins, who fought with the British during the War of 1812.
“It has been said that if it wasn’t for Indigenous warriors, Canada might not be Canada, because they were quite skilful in their tactics,” says Jocko.