“Throughout history, Indigenous Peoples have a proud and enduring legacy of defending this land and its inhabitants through their service in the Canadian Armed Forces and in peacekeeping missions across the globe. During the First World War, in some areas of Canada, one out of every three capable Indigenous men willingly volunteered for service. Some Indigenous communities saw every eligible man between the ages of 20 and 35 join the effort.

“An exemplary veteran, Alex Decoteau became Canada's first Indigenous police officer in 1911 in Edmonton, competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics as a long-distance runner, and served as a communications trench runner in the First World War. Alberta now offers a scholarship in his name, supporting members of Canada's Armed Forces in their pursuit of higher education in the province.

“During the Second World War, Charles ‘Checker’ Tomkins from Grouard, Alta., served as a code talker. Cree code talkers ensured that critical messages and intelligence remained indecipherable to enemy forces, playing a vital role in the war effort.

“These are only a few examples of Indigenous veterans dedicating their lives to safeguarding this land. We proudly remember all Indigenous veterans. Through their actions, they exemplified bravery by confronting adversity and overcoming enemy forces.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Indigenous veterans for their unwavering commitment, whether in times of conflict or in times of peace. We will forever honour and salute them for their service and sacrifices.”