Elliot Lake - MPP Mantha, Ontario NDP critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, released the following statement on Aboriginal Veterans Day:
Today, we recognize the engagement and sacrifice Indigenous Peoples have made in defending our country. On this day, we honour their service, struggle for peace and the sacrifices they made. We remember them.
Charles Byce, the most highly decorated Indigenous solder of the Second World War, is an example of the truly magnificent contribution made by Indigenous Peoples.
Charles Byce was born in Chapleau and served with the Lake Superior Regiment. He won the Military Medal for bravery as well as the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The courage and fighting spirit demonstrated by Byce was recognized last year by the dedication of a monument in his honour.
Aboriginal Veterans Day provides us with the opportunity to acknowledge the participation of many in the Battle of Vimy Ridge which we mark this year the 100th anniversary. For hundreds of years, Indigenous Peoples have fought alongside British and Canadian militaries. An estimated 12,000 Indigenous men and women served during the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. And still today, serving around the world with the Canadian troops, Indigenous Peoples proudly contribute to that great legacy.