Remembering Indigenous veterans

An evening of film and conversation to learn about Indigenous veterans and their contributions

Friday, November 3, 2023

This event has passed.

The National Aboriginal Veterans monument, an outdoor statue featuring three Indigenous veterans, a bear, a wolf and an eagle taking flight on top. Partially obscured.

Photo: Aurore Duwez, from Pixabay

Event details

Manitoba Teachers’ Society Classrooms, Level 1, Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Language and Accessibility:
This program will be presented primarily in English with English captions and ASL interpretation.

Join us for an evening of film and conversation as we explore the important but often overlooked service of Indigenous veterans in Canada.

In advance of Indigenous Veterans Day on November 8, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will screen Forgotten Warriors, followed by a discussion with Indigenous veteran advocates Randi Gage and Bill Shead. Both Randi and Bill were instrumental in the founding of Canada’s National Indigenous Veterans Day.

All are welcome to attend this free event. Light refreshments will be provided.

About the film

Forgotten Warriors, a National Film Board documentary, introduced Canadians to the thousands of Indigenous people who voluntarily enlisted during the Second World War. While they fought for the freedom of others, they endured great inequality at home. The film, directed by Loretta Todd, chronicles the historical injustice to these veterans, many of whom returned home to find the government had seized parts of their own reserve land to compensate non‐Indigenous veterans. The film is a testimony to courage, resilience and healing.

Discussion and panelists

Following the screening, Randi Gage, a Vietnam‐era veteran, will share her experiences as an Ojibway woman in the military. She will talk about the racism and misogyny she encountered and about the first laying of the wreath for Indigenous veterans. Bill Shead, a member of Peguis First Nation and a 36‐year veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy, will discuss how and why he advocated alongside others to create National Indigenous Veterans Day.

Veterans and military personnel enjoy free admission from November 7–12.

Randi Gage

Randi Gage is an older woman with short, fair hair wearing a black blazer. She sits in front of a bookcase.

Randi Gage is an outspoken advocate for veterans, especially those who are women, Elders and Indigenous. An internationally known speaker on veterans issues, end‐of‐life/palliative care and other health and lifestyle issues, Randi holds an Associate of Applied Arts and Science in Bio‐Medical Electronic Technology, a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Medical Studies, and a Masters in Spiritual Healing. She also has specialized training as a Palliative Care and Grief Recovery Specialist. Randi is known for her ability to speak on difficult topics using humour to ease the pain. She is an Ojibway woman who can walk comfortably in both mainstream and traditional worlds.

She was the founder of the Day of Recognition and Remembrance for Aboriginal Veterans in Canada (Indigenous Veterans Day), charter vice‐president of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association of Canada, charter secretary‐treasurer of the Manitoba Aboriginal Veterans Association, and recipient of the 2016 Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for Exemplary Contributions to the care and well‐being of veterans, and to the remembrance of the contributions, sacrifices and achievements of veterans.

A retired palliative care and compassionate care specialist, she has worked extensively in health care both in Canada and internationally. She spent February 2005 in eastern Sri Lanka on Tsunami Relief as a support member for a Manitoba medical team. Randi has held positions with the National Council of Women of Canada and Council of Women of Winnipeg. She served as a member of the Cancer Care Manitoba Board of Directors, sitting on the Quality and Patient Safety Committee and the Community Engagement Committee. Randi has provided support to the African Communities of Manitoba (ACOMI) as they develop their family health care and settlement needs documentation. She was a researcher for the Traditional Healing Methods of the African Population for use by local and national health care organizations.

Bill Shead

Bill Shead is an older man with white hair and glasses. He is smiling, looking to the side and wearing a dark blue suit and blue tie with white fighter jets on it.

William (Bill) Shead is a member of the Peguis First Nation and a 36‐year veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). A graduate of Dalhousie and the Canadian Forces Staff College, he served as a naval officer in the Regular and Reserve Forces of the RCN from 1956 to 1992. He held a variety of appointments in several ships. Bill was one of 15 Indigenous sailors aboard HMCS St. Croix who escorted the Hosaqami totem pole, created by famed Kwakwaka’wakw carver Mungo Martin, from Canada to Portsmouth, England in 1960 as a gift from the RCN to the Royal Navy (RN). Bill was on‐hand for the raising of the replica Hosaqami totem in the BC Government House gardens in 2012.

He was seconded to the Public Service Commission of Canada to lead the Office of Native Employment from 1975–77. From 1980–83, Bill served as Mayor of Selkirk, Manitoba. Bill was the Regional Director General for the Prairie Region of Veterans Affairs Canada from 1986–1992. In early 1993, he was seconded to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg. Bill remained CEO until 1996, when he retired from the public service. Some of his past and current volunteer service includes: Chair, Board of Directors of St. Boniface General Hospital; Vice‐president, Me‐Dian Credit Union; Secretary‐Treasurer, the Tommy Prince Medals Committee; Board Member, Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg; Member of the Board of Directors for the North American Indigenous Games 2002; Lawyer Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba; Public Councillor of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba; Chair, Neeginan Centre (formerly Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg) board; Vice‐Chair, Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development [CAHRD]; Member of the Board of Directors, Indspire (formerly National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation). He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Bill will speak on the creation of the Canadian National Indigenous Veterans Day. Except for the period of COVID, a public service commemorating Aboriginal Veterans Day has been held annually in Neeginan Centre hosted by the students and staff of the Indigenous organizations operating out of the Centre.

Change or cancellation

Please note that this program is subject to change or cancellation without notice.