Did you know...
In most cases, when Indigenous soldiers returned home to Canada after serving our country, they were enfranchised, which meant their Indian status was taken away and they were now considered “Canadian citizens”.
The general population might think- isn’t that a good thing? Don’t Indigenous people want to be treated like “everyone else”?
Here’s the catch 22 with enfranchisement:
When Indigenous people were enfranchised it meant they lost the right to return home to their reserves (which were on a pass and permit system), separating them from their family, language and culture. It also meant they lost the right to hunt and fish on their traditional territories. As well as so many other rights associated with the Indian Act.
Because of enfranchisement, Indigenous soldiers were forced to live away from their homes, often in urban centres. They could not get jobs because of their race which led many to become homeless. The trauma associated with war, racism and the inability to connect with family and culture caused many of these soldiers to turn to addiction for solace.
Imagine serving your country, experiencing trauma and PTSD then coming home to that same country and being completely disregarded? In a country where we claim to honour and value our veterans and view them as heroes?
Today, on November 8th, we take time to acknowledge and honour the brave Indigenous men and women who risked everything to serve a country that has a history of discrimination toward them. Today we ask people of all nations not to feel guilt or shame but to simply be mindful and willing to learn.
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