About two dozen people gathered outside at the snowy National Métis Veterans Memorial Monument on Wednesday for Indigenous Veterans Day.
The ceremony, held at Batoche about 80 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, recognized Métis people from Saskatchewan who enlisted in the military from 1914 to 1953.
The book Métis Soldiers of Saskatchewan, 1914-1953 estimated that more than 1,700 Métis people enlisted in the army during that time.
Métis Nation—Saskatchewan veterans minister Mervin 'Tex' Bouvier said Métis veterans weren't properly recognized. In a news release, the Métis Nation called them the "forgotten warriors."
"We want to make sure that they're never forgotten, that they are a part of World War One and World War Two," Bouvier said.
The monument now has more than 5,000 veterans' names engraved in it.
Josie Searson, a veteran and an elder with the Métis Nation, was in the crowd Wednesday, wearing a Métis sash across her torso.
Searson said that while she did not feel marginalized while a part of the armed forces, she understands there are others who were not recognized.
"I have begun to feel, yes, some pride in having served in the armed forces and that there are many, many others who have not had any recognition at all," she said.
Josie Searson, left, said that while she didn't feel marginalized while a part of the military, she understands there are others who were not recognized. (Liam O'Connor/CBC)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement the Canadian government is working to ensure all Indigenous service members, veterans and their families are "equally supported and recognized for their service — because that is what they deserve."
Trudeau said that despite the unique challenges Indigenous people have historically faced after enlisting, these soldiers "demonstrated great courage to overcome these challenges on the frontlines and as skilled sharpshooters and trackers."