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November 8, 2023
The City of Toronto is honouring the military sacrifices, past and present, of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples to mark National Indigenous Veterans Day.
Mayor Olivia Chow led Wednesday’s proceedings at city hall, which began with a sacred fire ceremony on the roof and ended with the presentation of two plaques in the rotunda to honour Toronto’s Indigenous veterans and current service members.
“It’s an honour to come together in a circle with the fire there showing a passion and a remembrance to those that gave their lives…and yet, for so many generations, forgotten. Taken for granted,” Chow said.
The first plaque pays tribute to the Defence Indigenous Advisory Group (DIAG), which represents more than 3,000 Indigenous members of Canada’s military. The second recognizes the contributions of all Indigenous Peoples who defended present-day Toronto in the Battle of York in 1813.
Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation was present at Wednesday’s ceremony and said Toronto’s recognition of Indigenous military contributions is bittersweet.