Indigenous Veterans Day – November 8
November 8, 2023
Today on Indigenous Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the important contributions and sacrifices made by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in service to Canada. An estimated 12,000 Indigenous people served during World War I and II and the Korean War, and more than 2,500 currently serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Indigenous Engagement and Services Committee would like to share select resources in recognition of this day:
Indigenous Veterans Day library materials carousel is linked here
Vancouver Island and area veterans:
- Edwin Victor Cook – Indigenous war hero born in Alert Bay, Namgis First Nation
- Snuneymuxw Elder preserving memories of local Indigenous veterans features Geraldine Manson, author of Snuneymuxw history written in places and spaces : ancestors’ voices–an echo in time
Indigenous military service blog posts at Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.
- Tommy George Prince Military Medal and Silver Star Recipient
- 14 facts you may not know about contributions of Indigenous veterans
- Indigenous veterans: equals on the battlefields, but not at home
- Indigenous war heroes – more than a few good men
- Forgotten warriors by Loretta Todd – NFB The documentary introduces thousands of Indigenous Canadians who enlisted and fought alongside their countrymen and women during World War II. While they fought for the freedom of others, they were being denied equality in their own country and returned home to find their land seized. Veterans share their war stories and healing process.
- Gene Boy Came Home by Alanis Obomsawin – NFB This short documentary by celebrated filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin is a portrait of Eugene “Gene Boy” (pronounced Genie Boy) Benedict, from Odanak Indian Reserve (near Montreal, Quebec). At 17, he enlisted in the US Marines and was sent to the frontlines of the Vietnam War. This film is the account of his 2 years of service and his long journey back to Odanak afterwards.
- Return of the Warrior’s Sword by Naomi Recollet – NFB This film explores the history behind the Sword of Mookomaanish, an artefact from the war of 1812, which embodies the Anishinaabe’s strength and will to defend and protect their land. Indigenous veterans join a ceremony to celebrate the sword’s return.
- Cree code talker by Alex Lazarowich This film reveals the role of Canadian Cree code talker Charles ‘Checker’ Tomkins during the Second World War. Digging deep into the US archives it depicts the true story of Charles’ involvement with the US Air Force and the development of the code talkers communication system, which was used to transmit crucial military communications, using the Cree language as a vital secret weapon in combat.
Additional resources are available at the Government of Canada’s Indigenous Veterans webpage.