Aboriginal veterans wanted their own day to be with their families and communities to commemorate Aboriginal service to the country in the Aboriginal way, but they also wanted to be able to spend Nov. 11 with their comrades on Remembrance Day.
Randi Gage will be spending today at Riverton, Man. in the memorial park she helped build and set aside to honor Aboriginal veterans. Gage will honor the memories of Aboriginal veterans on a day she helped struggle to establish-- Aboriginal Veterans Day.
Gage, a Vietnam-era veteran, was an Armour Supply Specialist in the United States Army. She was elected to the executive of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association in Canada during the days when Aboriginal veterans were pushing for official recognition for their war service and contributions from the country they served, she told Windspeaker.com. She stood alongside NAVA president Sam Sinclair and others in their battles at home. It was on Nov. 8, 1993 when the first Aboriginal Veterans Day took place across Canada,
Aboriginal veterans, she said, wanted their own day to be with their families and communities to commemorate Aboriginal service to the country in the Aboriginal way, but they also wanted to be able to spend Nov. 11 with their comrades on Remembrance Day.
More than 7,000 First Nations members 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, reads Canada’s Veterans website. One veterans group estimates that 12,000 Indigenous men and women served in the three wars.
According to the website, most Indigenous people who served in the wars were ground troops in the infantry. Randi Gage was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation in 2016, awarded annually to individuals who have contributed in an exemplary manner to the care and well-being of veterans or to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices and achievements of veterans.