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Indigenous Veterans Initiative

UNDRIP and commitments to Reconciliation, Commemoration of History

In 2019, the Last Post Fund introduced the Indigenous Veterans Initiative. The initiative includes the efforts to provide grave markers to Indigenous Veterans deceased for over five years and lying in unmarked graves. It’s also working to add traditional names of Indigenous Veterans to existing military grave markers.

“We believe that it is important to commemorate the efforts of Indigenous Veterans in the Canadian Armed Forces, while paying tribute to their cultural heritage,” said Maria Trujillo, Indigenous Project Coordinator.

“The addition of the traditional name as well as the choice of a culturally relevant symbol to the tombstones represents our effort to recognize this heritage, and to do our part in the national reconciliation journey.”

The initiative began with the names of over 18,000 Indigenous Veterans who had served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The team realized there may be some Indigenous Veterans lying in unmarked graves and without due recognition. It led them to reach out directly to Indigenous communities to offer their services in a culturally-specific way. They moved forward working in partnership with researchers from Indigenous communities throughout Canada.

“Reconciliation means working and walking together to better understand how to build a better, more equal Canada for everyone, while continuing to learn about and acknowledge the past,” Maria said.

For organization looking to start their reconciliation journey, Maria says to learn about Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and how to better build relationships. She suggests following up in areas close to you.

“If you are interested in the Canadian Armed Forces, for example, learn about the enormous historical and ongoing contributions of Indigenous Veterans to the Canadian Armed Forces and why Indigenous Veterans faced discrimination and negative treatment upon their return from the wars and conflict zones.”

If you think that a family member or a member of your community may qualify for the Indigenous Veterans Initiative, or if you would like to contribute to the community research effort you can contact Maria at 1-800-465-7113 extension 222 or email info@lastpost.ca.


A tombstone was flown in to Umiujaq July 12 2019 and has been installed on Eddy Weetaltuk's gravesite. To learn more about the life story of Eddy Weetaltuk, you can read his book:  From the Tundra to the Trenches. Published by University of Manitoba Press in 2017.

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