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AFN National Chief and First Nations Veterans of Canada Mark Remembrance Day by Calling for Justice for First Nations Veterans

by NationTalk on November 11, 20091968 Views

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OTTAWA, Nov. 10 – Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Norm Henderson, President of the First Nations Veterans of Canada will mark Remembrance Day by laying wreaths in honour of all Canada’s First Nations veterans.”We are marking November 11th by honouring all those who have served Canada with pride and distinction,” National Chief Atleo said. “This includes First Nations veterans who have served Canada in both world wars and in Korea. Yet First Nations veterans have not received the same treatment as other veterans. They have been denied benefits and compensation that others received. They have been discriminated against by the very country they fought for. Today, I call on Canada to honour our veterans by working with them to ensure they receive justice and fairness.”

Many First Nations veterans have been denied benefits and compensation that were made available to non-First Nations veterans. In 2002, following decades of lobbying, First Nations veterans were offered $20,000 in compensation, despite a federal government study that concluded average compensation should be $120,000.

“We are pleased to have the AFN work with us in resolving these injustices,” said Mr. Henderson. “These longstanding issues are a result of bad bureaucracy. After the wars, our veterans were never offered education grants or business loans – just land for farming on reserve. We were denied benefits because the Indian Act was used against us. First Nation veterans are only seeking the same level of compensation as any other Canadian who has defended their country.”

The National Chief will accompany a delegation of First Nations veterans to Remembrance Day services at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario on November 11 at 10:30 a.m. Padre Catherine Askew, a Chaplain with the Canadian Forces, will recite the Act of Remembrance in Cree. The late Tom Eagle recited the Act in Cree for the very first time last year.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

For further information: Bryan Hendry, AFN Communications, (613) 241-6789, ext. 229, cell (613) 293-6106, or bhendry[at]afn.ca; Karyn Pugliese, A/Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext 210 or (613) 292-1877, kpugliese[at]afn.ca

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