Indigenous peoples have a long and proud tradition of military service in Canada. These determined volunteers were often forced to overcome many challenges to serve in uniform, from learning a new language and adapting to cultural differences, to travelling great distances from their remote communities just to enlist. Senator Daniel Christmas, the first Mi’kmaw person to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, and Six Nations’ scholar and veteran John Moses will share stories, experiences and perspectives related to the service and sacrifice of Indigenous veterans.
Senator Daniel Christmas
Mr. Christmas has served in various leadership positions in the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia. After serving five years as the Band Manager for the Community of Membertou, he worked for the Union of Nova Scotia Indians for 15 years — the last 10 as Director. He was actively involved in the recognition and implementation of Mi’kmaw Aboriginal and treaty rights in Nova Scotia.
Mr. Christmas has been active in many international, national, provincial and local agencies in a wide range of fields, including Aboriginal and treaty rights, justice, policing, education, health care, human rights, adult training, business development and the environment.
In 2005, Mr. Christmas was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Dalhousie University and, in 2016, an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College. In 2008, he was the recipient of the National Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award from the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada.
In December 2016, Mr. Christmas was sworn in as an Independent Senator for Nova Scotia. Senator Christmas is the first Mi’kmaw person to be appointed to the Senate of Canada.
Mr. John Moses
John Moses, a member of the Six Nations Delaware Band, is currently the supervisor of repatriation at the Canadian Museum of History. He has also worked with the Canadian War Museum, the British Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian (New York). He is currently pursuing his doctorate at Carleton University.
He served in the 1980s in the Communicator Research Operator (291) trade. He took trades training at Echo Squadron, in the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics, with operational postings to CFS Leitrim and CFS Alert.
Mr. Moses is also the descendant of several Indigenous veterans, including his father, Russell Moses, who fought in the Korean War (RCN – HMCS Iroquois), and several great-uncles who fought in the First World War. His maternal grandmother, Edith Monture, also served as a nurse in the United States military in the First World War.
In English with simultaneous translation in French.