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Hidden heroes come from all cultures

Lorraine Graves   Nov-10-2017

Many Canadians have offered their service to their country in war and peacetime. Not all returned to a land that honoured their contributions or human rights.

Photo by Lorraine Graves

Bravery and service to Canada are not limited to those of European ancestry.

The most decorated soldier fighting in World War II and Korea, Tommy Prince was Ojibwa. On the Historica Canada website, you can check out the Heritage Minute honouring Prince’s accomplishments and struggles.



Canadians of Chinese ancestry have offered service throughout the forces and appear on a wall of honour on the Veterans’ Affairs website.

A decorated reservist from Vancouver, Harjit Singh Sajjan, is our Minister of Defense.

The Japanese Canadian Memorial in Stanley Park serves as a reminder of the contribution these citizens have made to our armed forces since the First World War. A commemorative ceremony begins there at 10:40 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11 and is open to all.

To read the detailed story of former Richmond resident and decorated veteran Masumi Mitsui, who fought for Canada in the First World War and fought for human rights when he came home, see the Richmond Sentinel’s website at

First Nations Veterans have long struggled to have their significant contributions honoured.

The Aboriginal Veterans Day Organizing Committee, more than 12,000 First Nations people, including Inuit and Metis, served in the Canadian Armed Forces in the First World War alone—a high number considering First Nations peoples represent less than four percent of the country’s population even today.

According to Kelly E. White, volunteer director, aboriginal people have served in over 42 peacekeeping missions since 1956.

On Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. the 13th annual Aboriginal Veterans Day Ceremonies commence at the Carnegie Centre, 401 Main St., Vancouver. After a 10:15 a.m. honour march from there to Victory Square, ceremonies begin at the Cenotaph at 10:45. All are welcome, White says.

“We are grateful to the families of our Aboriginal veterans for the sacrifices they have made, and continue to make. We honour our warriors of the past, and of today, for fighting for the rights of the People of Turtle Island and Mother Earth.”

“Aboriginal veterans fought for the freedoms most other Canadians enjoy today, and we honour the great sacrifices and contributions they have made.”

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