NWAC President urges Canadians to honour valour, sacrifice of Indigenous women, men who have served in defence of Canada
November 9, 2022
OTTAWA – A statement from Carol McBride, the President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), to mark Indigenous Veterans Day, November 8:
“On Indigenous Veterans Day, I encourage all Canadians to take a moment to think about the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women and men who, throughout history, have stepped forward to serve in the defence of our country.
I would particularly like to honour Indigenous women like Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture, a nurse from the Six Nations Grand River Reserve in southwestern Ontario, who treated the injured at an American hospital in France during World War One. Or Dorothy Askwith, a Métis woman from Saskatoon who enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 and, although starting in junior positions, was eventually accepted into both the Service Flying Training School and Bombing and Gunnery School.
Many others have taken part in subsequent conflicts, including this century’s war in Afghanistan. Today, Indigenous military personnel continue to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces, and have participated in peacekeeping efforts with NATO, the United Nations, and other multinational operations.
But their valour has not always been recognized.
In many cases, discriminatory policies saw those who served in the Great Wars lose their Indian status and the associated benefits. Despite putting their lives on the line for Canada, they were not allowed to vote, and their war efforts were not recognized at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day. While non-Indigenous soldiers who fought in the First World War were rewarded with farm property and other assets, Indigenous veterans were given parcels of their own reserves – land to which they were already entitled.
That is why it is important that we take time today to honour Indigenous veterans, to thank them for their efforts to keep this country safe, and to recognize their bravery and their sacrifice.”