Conclusion

We, your sons and daughters of today, remember you, spirits of past wars and battles. We stand for peace on this planet called Mother Earth . . . . We are armed not with the terrible weapons of technology but with the wisdom of the Elders. We have not forgotten, we will not forget. We will live for our children and the future.97

War should never be glorified. Yet, the sacrifices and achievements of those who participated must never be forgotten. We owe it to our Veterans to keep the memory of their service alive.

To this end, members of Canada's Indigenous community have been forming Veterans' organizations and recording their wartime experiences in newsletters, books and films. In the introduction to We Were There, a collection of war-related memories produced by the Saskatchewan Indian Veterans Association, the editor explains:

I wanted to publish . . . to let Indian children know that their fathers and grandfathers fought for the freedom we now cherish. Many of the Indian Veterans who fought for this freedom did not come back. This book is meant to honour those who can still tell their stories, and those who were left behind.98

Indigenous Veterans are proud of their wartime contributions. Some have made commemorative pilgrimages back to the battlefields in which they fought decades before. Cairns and memorials have been erected in prominent locations on several reserves. Residents gather around them each November 11 for Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Indigenous Veterans have reason to be proud. More than 7,000 First Nations people served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, and an unknown number of Inuit, Métis and other Indigenous people also participated. One Veterans group estimates that 12,000 Indigenous people served in the three wars.99

On each occasion, Canada's Indigenous soldiers overcame cultural challenges and made impressive sacrifices and contributions to help the nation in its efforts to restore world peace. It was an incredible response consistent with a remarkable tradition.

The Six Nations-Mississauga War Memorial commemorates the reserve's Veterans of the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.

David Greyeyes returned to Italy with a delegation of fellow Canadian Veterans in 1991. More and more Indigenous Veterans are revisiting their former battlefields and recording their wartime experiences. (David (Greyeyes) Steele)

Members of the Native Veterans Association of Northwestern Ontario. Standings, from left to right, are: Ian Michon, Michael Michon, Pete King, Ortan Asham, Ben Martin, Jr., Frank Michon, Lloyd Michon, Abraham Starr, Isabel Houston, Ivan Martin, Isadore Ray, George Nani, David Ogemah, Wilfred Louis, James Horton, Ben Brown, Tom Medicine, and Michael Morrison. Seated are Peter Towgeesic, Ted Morriseau, Charles John, Abiel Quackageesic, Vern Ruttan, Larence Martin, Hector King, and Tom Belmore. (Bill Lindsay)

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