Aboriginal veterans honoured


Vietnam veteran Old Hands at Victory Square at the cenotaph
Photo by Arlen Redekop/The Province

Adapted from The Province and CTV News by Nila Gopaul

On Sunday, November 8,
about 100 people marched through
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The marchers sang and beat on native drums.

The event was the city’s 10th
annual National Aboriginal Veterans Day March.
The march started at Carnegie Centre
and ended at Victory Square.
At Victory Square,
there was a remembrance ceremony
at the cenotaph.

The Canadian flag flew alongside Aboriginal flags.
The event honoured about 7,000 aboriginal soldiers.
These soldiers fought for Canada during the First World War,
Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War.*

Some aboriginal leaders say that aboriginal veterans
were not treated like heroes.
After the war, “they did not get the same medical benefits….
They simply did not get the same love
and respect that others did,” said Joy Ward-Dockrey.
Joy is the co-ordinator of the Lower Mainland
Aboriginal Veterans Association.

“Veterans who came back lost their status
and lost all of their rights,” B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said.
Later, in court, many aboriginal veterans won their rights back.

Veterans, like Old Hands (in the photo above), say
they will also stand with their brothers
on Remembrance Day, on November 11.

*Wars aboriginal soldiers served in:
The First World War:  July 28, 1914 – November 11, 1918
The Second World War:  September 1, 1939 – September 2, 1945
The Korean War:  June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953
The Vietnam War:  November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975