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November 8, 2023
For Inuit and other Indigenous peoples throughout Canada, today, November 8, is recognized as National Indigenous Veterans Day – the day we honor the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country.
Despite being exempt from conscription, over 4,000 Indigenous men, including Labrador Inuit, enlisted in the First World War and over 300 died, and another 20,000 volunteered for service in the Second World War and over 200 died.
Many Indigenous people have served in conflicts since, and many more continue to serve today. We are proud of these brave men and women who helped shape this great country we live in, proud of the sacrifices they have made, and proud of the legacy they have left behind.
On November 11 we will also acknowledge and remember those – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – who served our country. Although Remembrance Day is observed to recall the end of the First World War in 1918 – when major hostilities were formally ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month with the German signing of the Armistice Agreement – it is also held to remember those who fought in the Second World War, Korean Conflict, Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world.
To mark National Indigenous Veterans Day and Remembrance Day, I encourage all Beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, no matter where you live, to observe a minute of silence on both days to honour those who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.
Lest we forget.