National Indigenous Veterans Day, Nov 8

Remembrance Day, Nov 11

November 8 is National Indigenous Veterans Day

Local Communities select a date that is best for the community throughout this week. 

“This November 8th is National Indigenous Veterans Day, a day of remembrance and commemoration of the contributions of Indigenous veterans in the First and Second World Wars, as well as the Korean War. First Nations, Inuit and Metis people were not eligible for conscription because they were not citizens of Canada (they were also unable to vote) but many volunteered despite the challenges they faced, including traveling long distances from remote communities to enlist, learning a new language (English), and coping with racism against them. Indigenous people were not allowed to join the Canadian Air Force until 1942 and the Canadian Navy until 1943. Both men and women enlisted, serving as soldiers, nurses and in other roles. Many served with distinction, winning medals for bravery in action. After the war, enlisted Indigenous people returned home to continued discrimination, including in some cases denial of benefits, loss of Indian Status, and expropriation of their land by the government for non-Indigenous veterans. It was only in 1995 that Indigenous veterans were allowed to lay wreaths commemorating their fallen comrades at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The first monument commemorating the role of Indigenous people during these three wars was dedicated in 2001 in Ottawa. It took until 2003 for the Government of Canada to provide veterans’ benefits to First Nations soldiers who had been denied them in the past, and Metis veterans have never received them. Today, Indigenous people continue to serve in Canada’s armed forces.”

We honour and remember the lives, sacrifices and contributions of Indigenous Peoples to Canada, by recognizing National Indigenous Veterans Day on November 8. We commemorate this day throughout the month of November and alongside Remembrance Day. This is a day dedicated to honouring the contributions of Indigenous Veterans and their significant impact on the well-being of Canada and the world.

God our Creator, you call us to spread peace and love in the world.  You tell us that those who work for peace will be called your sons and daughters.  Help us to live in peace with you and with one another so that we can truly be free.  

With Audio File (click to listen)

Bkejwanong Territory 

(Walpole Island First Nation)

O Canada 

Students from Kettle and Stony Point 

sing O Canada in Ojibwe

Audio file and transcript of O' Canada sung in Ojibwe

Commitment to Remember for Youth to Recite 


Here you will find a Veterans Honour List. Encourage students to look for the

veterans from local First Nations Communities.

Heritage Minute: Tommy Prince

Tommy Prince was Canada’s most decorated Indigenous War Veteran, with 11 medals from WWII and the KoreanWar. Prince had a strong sense of civic duty and a fierce pride in his people. This Heritage minute recognizes Prince’s contributions. 

Heritage Minute: Peacemaker 

Centuries ago, the five Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Nations created the Iroquois Confederacy that bound these nations together in peace and unity. The origins of this Confederacy are explained in the legend of the Tree of Great Peace. 


Heritage Minute: Patrimoine


Honour the important contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Métis Veterans in service to Canada. (videos) 

Honorer les contributions importantes des vétérans membres des Premières Nations, des Inuit et des Métis au service du Canada. (videos)

Indigenous Veterans Resources 

Vétérans autochtones

Aboriginals in WW2.pdf

CBC: The Secret Life of Canada 

Meet Tom Longboat, an Onondaga long distance runner born in 1887 on Six Nations. Tom became one of the most celebrated athletes of all time, despite his struggles and encountering racism throughout his career.

Download S1: Shout Out to Tom Longboat

[mp3 file: runs 00:02:06]

Putting it into Perspective: First Nations Soldiers in the First World War

In this lesson students explore the experiences and contributions of Indigenous soldiers to Canada’s role in the First World War. They draw links between the treaty relationship and First Nations’ wartime involvement with a focus on the experiences of soldier Francis Pegahmagabow. Learn more 

Indigenous War Heroes Teacher's Guide 


Indigenous people have a long and proud tradition of military service in Canada. From the earliest days before Canada was even a country of its own, through the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, post-war peace support efforts, Afghanistan and on to the present day, thousands of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other Indigenous men and women have served bravely and well in uniform. Check out the Indigenous People in the Canadian Military  website. 

Donald "Scotty" Odjig: Indigenous Paratrooper

Anishinaabeg in the War of 1812

In the News

Handmade Remembrance Day poppies proudly worn by aboriginal veterans

'It is something we do for ourselves as aboriginal people,' says veteran Joy Ward-Dockrey

By John Cotter, The Canadian Press Posted: Nov 10, 2015 

Read more at 

Order an Indigenous Veterans Historical Sheet for the classroom from Veteran's Affairs Canada

Try this escape room by learning about some of the great Anishinaabek leaders of the past!